Hillsboro advances to Hutchinson, trouncing Remington, 35-21
One year ago, the Remington Lady Broncos were the first obstacle standing in the Lady Trojans way of Hutchinson’s Class 3A state basketball tournament.
It took a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Allie Faul to survive a 45-42 scare in Remington before eventually qualifying for Hutchinson’s “Big Dance.”
One year later, in the title game of the Sterling substate Saturday night, the Broncos were the last team standing in the Trojans’ way of returning to Hutchinson.
The Trojans (18-5) used a smothering defense to corral the Broncos, advancing to Hutchinson for the second consecutive year with a 35-21 win.
“Our defense was fantastic,” Trojans coach Nathan Hiebert said. “We did an excellent job defensively I thought. They have two really solid players in Regier (Katie) and Tillotson (Quin). Their main strength is trying to get to the basket.
“Defensively, we really frustrated them and I thought we did a good job (denying Remington) of that. The second and third quarters were the key to the game.”
That was when the Broncos staggered through the two quarters with a mere field goal, going the entire second quarter without scoring at all.
The swarming Trojan defense forced 27 turnovers — 16 alone in the first half.
Remington didn’t give the Trojans much outside, either, yielding 25 percent on 1-of-4.
“They didn’t allow us a lot outside; they really took that away,” Hiebert said. “They didn’t give us much opportunity at free baskets inside, either.
“They do a great job of making you throw a pass over the top that’s slower, and all of a sudden they have time to rotate and be where they need to be.”
It started out looking like the Trojans would have a real battle on their hands with the Broncos tying the game twice in the first eight minutes, despite Hillsboro never relinquishing the lead.
Dakota Kaufman, who had a game-high 13 points, broke a 9-9 tie with a runner, which gave the Trojans an 11-9 lead to start the second frame.
Hillsboro’s defense took over the second quarter, limiting Remington to a meager two shots and a modest 4-for-7 shooting in the first half.
The Trojans’ shooting wasn’t fantastic either — 12-for-36 — but they got 12 more shots than the Broncos were even able to muster, shooting just 9-of-24.
Both teams had difficulty scoring after the first quarter, but more so Remington as Faul’s fast-break with just under a minute left in the first half gave Hillsboro an 18-9 lead.
Of Hillsboro’s 18 points, 11 came at the expense of the Broncos 16 mistakes.
Remington finally managed to cut the lead to 19-11 with its first basket in nearly 12 minutes.
Jessi Green’s basket was also the Broncos last of the third quarter, and even though the Trojans went the closing 3:46 without scoring, Kaufman’s two free throws widened the gap, 23-11.
Hillsboro only attempted 10 shots in the second half, making four, and the Broncos were 5-for-13 through three quarters.
Remington put up nearly as many shots in the fourth quarter as they had the first three, but only four went in.
The Trojans were never in jeopardy of losing their lead, which stretched as far as 15 two times in the fourth quarter.
With the Broncos trying to extend the game, Hillsboro ruined that in the final 3:16, making 8-for-9 at the free-throw line.
Regier scored all but two of the Broncos’ 10 points in the fourth quarter, closing out her high school career, tying Kaufman as leading scorer.
Qualifying for state again was no surprise to Hiebert.
“At the very first meeting we talked about my expectation of making it back to state and past the first round,” he said. “That was my expectation and I told the girls that’s the potential we have.
“I was worried a little bit after our first three games (0-3), but we were learning a lot of stuff from the start.
“The girls, you could tell weren’t just satisfied with being here (substate). They knew they didn’t want to leave without going to state again.”
The Trojans get a first-round rematch Thursday against the Garden Plain Lady Owls. Garden Plain comes off a win over Wichita Collegiate. Thursday night’s game will begin at 8:15 at Hutchinson Sports Arena.
The Trojans continued to prove that it was up for the competition Friday night in the semifinal round against the Sedgwick Lady Cardinals. Hillsboro’s stifling defense really began the night before the final game, destroying the Cardinals, 61-27.
Sedgwick was done after the first quarter, being buried under a 22-2 rockslide.
By halftime, the Trojans had a commanding 34-7 lead.
Kaufman scored a game-high 14 points while the trio of Faul, Courtney Weber, and Callie Serene combined for 18 points outside on a perfect 6-for-6.
Hillsboro shot a scalding 55 percent from the floor while its defense held Sedgwick to just 10-of-22 overall.