Trojan girls end season at Sterling

Alex Ratzlaff drives inside during Hillsboro?s 67-27 loss to Sterling Tuesday. The Trojans lost to Sterling, 64-48, Monday in their sub-state opener to end their season. Don Ratzlaff / Free Press

The Hillsboro girls rallied from a 40-point thumping against Sterling six days earlier, but fell short of an upset against the Black Bears in their rematch Monday night in the first round of sub-state play.

Sterling prevailed on their home court, 64-48, to end the Trojans? season with a record of 8-13.

Hillsboro played with more fight on this night, but fell behind 7-0 early in the game, and trailed at the end of the first quarter, 14-4.

With Sterling?s leading scorer, Kylah Comley, on the bench with foul trouble, the Trojans held their own in the second quarter and actually narrowed the deficit by halftime to 35-25.

But the Trojans got off to a slow start offensively in the third quarter, and the Bears took advantage with Comley back on the court to help rebuild the lead to 51-34 as the quarter ended.

When Alex Ratzlaff hit a pair of free throws with 3:00 left in the game, the Trojans were back within to 57-43, but the Black Bears hit their free throws down the home stretch to nail down the 16-point victory margin.

Unofficially, Ratzlaff led the Trojans with 19 points. Rebecca Kaufman added eight and Abby Sechrist seven.

With the win, Sterling improves to 17-4 and will move on to the semifinals.

Sterling?Hillsboro got a preview of its first-round sub-state opponent on the final day of the regular season.

State-ranked Sterling didn?t give the Trojans much to look forward to during a 67-27 rout at Brown Gymna?sium on Senior Night.

The athletically deep Black Bears jumped to an 11-2 lead and never were really threatened by the Trojans.

Hillsboro was still within striking distance after one quarter at 15-7. But a 20-8 second quarter by the visitors removed all doubt about the outcome. The Bears led 35-15 by halftime.

Hillsboro made only two of 14 shots in the first half and committed 10 turnovers, while the Black Bears hit 13 of 31 shots, including four three-point baskets.

?We came out well the first quarter,? coach Nathan Hiebert said. ?We took care of the ball, we rebounded well. When we were attacking, we got fouled and got to the free-throw line.

?But then we went on big lulls. We?d turn the ball over multiple times. When the other team gets stops and then gets easy transition buckets, that?s when big runs happen.?

The Trojans started the third quarter with some spunk, outscoring Sterling, 12-7, through the first 3:30, with a 10-point contribution from Alex Ratzlaff.

But another lull hit, and Sterling finished the quarter with a 16-0 run to lead 60-27 at the final break.

The running clock in the fourth quarter didn?t help the Trojans, who failed to score a single point while Sterling added seven to its total.

Ratzlaff led Hillsboro with 18 points; no other Trojan scored more than three points.

Meanwhile, the Black Bears had three players in double figures, led by Kylah Comley with 19 and Emma Lambert and Sydney Wilson each adding 10.

Hiebert had nothing but praise for the Black Bears, ranked 10th in 3A, who finished the season with a 16-4 record for the season, a 9-2 league record.

?They only graduated one senior, and no disrespect, but I didn?t feel she was among their top three or four players last year,? he said. ?So they brought back almost everybody, and added a bunch of young kids who are excited to be a part of it.

?It has surprised me that Sterling lost as many games (this season) as they did.?

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