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Lady Trojans still searching for first victory of New Year

First-half slump costly in 41-31 loss to Hesston

Sports writer

With the start of 2009, Hillsboro High School girls’ basketball coach Nathan Hiebert’s New Years’ resolution may be simple — find a way to come up with more sufficient offensive production.

While the Trojans’ defense has yet to allow an opponent to score 50 points, Hiebert is still looking for a combination that can provide consistent scoring.

Hillsboro appeared to have it early Friday night against the solid, visiting Hesston Lady Swathers.

However, a scoring lapse that spanned over an entire quarter allowed Hesston to hang on for a 41-30 victory.

Combined with a 37-24 loss Jan. 6 night at Hoisington, Hillsboro dipped a game under .500 at 3-4 on the season.

“Our defensive intensity picked up and that gave us a lot of chances,” Hiebert said. “Offensively, we were just rushing. Our feet weren’t set and we were just rushing some soft shots.

“Hesston tried to pressure quite a bit early on when we jumped on them, they kind of picked up some pressure, turned the ball over some and we settled for outside shots instead of attacking the basket. We’re still waiting to put it together.”

Hillsboro could attribute its 7-2 lead through the first three minutes of the game to its defense, which forced the Swathers into five first-quarter mistakes.

Tiffany Rooker scored a season and game-high 16 points, but her three-point play with 4:26 left in the first quarter would be the final basket Hillsboro could get to fall until there was just more than two minutes left in the first half.

That gave Hesston more than enough time to crawl into the drivers’ seat, scoring seven unanswered points to open a 15-7 lead.

Even high-percentage shots from point-blank range were a tall order for the Trojans, as they missed nine straight shots.

Candace Weinbrenner ended the drought, but the Trojans were down 18-11 at halftime, shooting 33 percent from the floor.

Hesston’s shooting wasn’t prolific either — 10-of-26 — but the Swathers dominated the backboards while camping out at the free-throw line.

Hillsboro cut the lead to 23-20, scoring six straight points as Hesston went the closing 2:25 of the third quarter scoreless.

Dakota Kaufman could’ve pulled the Trojans to within a point with 12 seconds left in the third, but both free throws were off.

The Swathers used five unanswered points to stretch their lead back to eight with the Trojans’ intense defense costing them the fourth quarter.

Hesston ended the night 21-for-30 at the free-throw line and 10-of-12 the waning 4:48, while out-rebounding Hillsboro 28-18 with 11 offensive rebounds.

“Our pressure was a lot more tonight. At Hoisington, I didn’t see any of that out of anybody. Tonight, I saw it from a lot of different girls,” Hiebert said. “We got some cheap fouls because we were so energetic. When you shoot 30 free throws and it’s an intense, physical game those cheap ones hurt.

“They’re (Hesston) a good ball club it’s one of those things where I’m still proud of what our girls have done if you look at what Hesston’s done against other teams. They were in the 30s in the fourth quarter and we just fouled them and they made a lot of them.”

The Trojans have an easier schedule ahead of them this week which started with a road trip Tuesday at Lindsborg to take on struggling Smokey Valley.

Hillsboro will play host Friday to Halstead with a tip-off scheduled for around 6 p.m.

Last modified Jan. 14, 2009

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