Kaufman’s 30-16 double-double cools off Lady Warriors, 45-37
The Hillsboro High School girls’ basketball team was out Friday to prove its January victory against Marion was no fluke.
HHS was firing on all cylinders during the Trojan Classic, using an 11-0 start to bury the Warriors before they knew what hit them, and cruise to a third-place victory.
A month later in the rematch Friday in Hillsboro, the 11-8 Warriors may have again been the favorite to even the score in the battle for Marion County supremacy.
After all, Marion was red-hot, winning four straight with an average of 66 points per game, including a decisive win against Hesston —a team that has two decisive victories under its belt against Hillsboro.
Dakota Kaufman must have never received that information.
The junior had a career-night, ripping the Warriors for a game-high 30 points to go along with 16 rebounds and four assists to give the Trojans (10-8, 5-5 MCAA) a 2-0 edge on Marion.
The Warriors have thrived on an up-tempo transition game, spearheaded by the one-two punch of Julia Zeiner and Lindsay Hett.
However, Kaufman alone was a combined five points better than the Warrior tandem with Hett and Zeiner scoring 13 and 12.
It was anything but a quick start Friday night for the Trojans, who were already carrying three turnovers with them by the time Kaufman finally scored their first point at the 4:09 mark.
Hillsboro’s smothering pressure defense did the trick in the first game and it came up big again, keeping Marion from pulling away and allowing it to shoot just 27 percent from the floor.
The Warriors built their 10-7 lead after the first quarter up to 14-9 before the game started to change.
Kaufman dropped 17 in the first half, including six straight as part of Hillsboro’s 8-0 run which gave it a lead that lasted.
The Trojans outscored Marion 18-4 the closing five minutes of the first half behind a scorching 69 percent shooting in the second quarter to take a 27-18 lead at the break.
Hillsboro kept going inside to Kaufman, who helped the Trojans open a 31-18 lead as well as maintain a double-digit margin through much of the slow third quarter.
Hett buried a three to close the gap to 31-23, but Kaufman made it a 34-23 game heading into the final frame with a three-point play.
A basket by Kaufman and a three-pointer from Allie Faul matched the Trojans’ largest lead of 15 twice in the fourth quarter.
Faul added 11 points, canning three threes in seven attempts to finish as the only other Trojan with more than one basket.
Another three from Hett cut the lead to single digits — 43-35 — with just more than three minutes left, but Faul sealed the victory for the Trojans with 30 seconds remaining, sinking two free throws that made it a three-possession game.
The Trojans dropped to 41 percent shooting the second half — 49 on the game — but Marion only managed a woeful 22, as Kaufman went 14-of-20.
The Trojans wrap-up the regular season at home Thursday for a make-up game against Nickerson.
The game will not count toward sub-state seeding.