The second quarter proved to be the ultimate undoing for the Hillsboro girls? effort to knock off Pratt. The Trojans lost, 53-44, Friday on their home court.
Pratt entered the game with a 9-4 season record and a 3-2 mark in the Central Kansas League while Hillsboro came in 6-8 and 3-2.
A six point surge by the Trojans? Alex Ratzlaff in the final 1:31 of the first quarter enabled the Trojans to tie the game 9-9 at the break.
A basket by Tara Proffitt to start the second quarter gave the Trojans their only lead of the game. After Pratt hit a two-point and three-point basket, Abby Sechrist scored a put-back at the 6:17 mark to pull Hillsboro to within one point at 14-13.
At the 5:22 mark, Pratt scored off the first of six Trojan turnovers over a three-minute span that enabled the visitors to build a 21-13 lead on the way to a 26-17 score at halftime.
The Trojans disrupted Pratt?s offensive flow?primarily jacking up three-pointers?but trailed by seven at the end of the quarter, 32-25.
Hillsboro made a mini-run as the fourth quarter began. Ratzlaff scored four points, Proffitt two and Darcy Heinrichs sank two free throws to pull the Trojans to within three, 34-37, with 4:22 to go.
But the Greenbacks rediscovered their shooting touch and slowly inflated the lead back to the final nine-point spread.
Hillsboro actually out-shot Pratt, 39 percent (14-36) to 33 percent (17-52).
?We executed well in the half court at times, getting great shots versus man or zone (defenses),? coach Nathan Hiebert said.
But his team?s challenges on the boards was a key factor in the outcome, he added.
?We gave up 20 offensive rebounds?four or five were off of free throws and almost all of those resulted in additional points for them,? he said.
Pratt launched 25 shots from behind the arc, making seven, while Hillsboro shot a relatively modest nine three-pointers and made three.
?They love to penetrate and kick (out),? Hiebert said about Pratt. ?We ran a zone to try to keep their penetrations limited, but we still struggled. Several times we allowed them to penetrate baseline and they got kick-out threes. We didn?t execute our zone defense very well against it.?
Ratzlaff finished with 24 points to pace the Trojans and Proffitt added 10, including two of Hillsboro?s three-point baskets. Paige Bailey led Pratt with 20, Stonie Flemming added 13 and Haylie Hook 10.
Nickerson?Hillsboro?s game Tuesday at Nickerson was a tale of two halves. The first one, matching a lethargic version of the Tro?jans versus the winless Pan?thers, ended in a 20-20 deadlock.
In the second half, the Trojans rolled out a looser and better-focused version of the team and cruised to a 49-33 victory.
??We had no energy, no tenacity?every loose ball was (Nickerson?s),? coach Nathan Hiebert said about the first two quarters. ?I think they just expected (a win) to happen.?
It wasn?t an illogical assumption, given Hills?boro?s 26-point win over the Panthers in the season opener. But that was two months ago.
On this night, Nicker?son?s Bryanna Herman fueled the Panthers early, hitting three three-point baskets in the first 4:00 as the home team built a 9-2 lead.
Allison Evans added a fourth three with 1:55 left to give the Panthers a 14-8 lead at the first break.
Both team struggled to score in the second quarter. With Nickerson leading 17-13 midway through the period, Callie Lin?nens and Darcy Heinrichs each hit a pair of free throws. Mesa Merrell drained a three-point shot with 22 seconds left to pull Hillsboro into the 20-20 tie.
Alex Ratzlaff, who managed only five points in the opening half, lit Hills?boro?s fuse in the third quarter with a three-point basket in the first 21 seconds. Hein?richs followed with a traditional three-point play at the 6:52 mark to put Hillsboro ahead by six.
Ratzlaff then hit back-to-back baskets, and Linnens followed with a put-back after a missed free throw to give Hillsboro a 32-20 lead with 2:19 left in the period.
The Trojans led 34-22 at the final break after limiting the home team to two points while forcing seven turn?overs during the quarter.
Nickerson never made a serious run after that. Ratz?laff finished with 21 points and freshman Abby Sechrist chipped in a career-high 10.
?Nickerson didn?t do anything different (defensively) in the second half,? Hiebert said. ?We just relaxed and found good opportunities rather than forcing things and taking bad shots.
Herman led Nickerson with 16 points, but did not hit a three-point shot after the first quarter.
With the win, Hillsboro raised its record to 6-8 for the season and 3-2 in the league. The Panthers slipped to 0-14 and 0-5.
Coming?Hillsboro was scheduled to play at Hoising?ton (4-2, 7-8) Tuesday, then will play host to Kingman (11-4, 3-3) Friday at Brown Gymna?sium. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.