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Pratt foils Lady Trojans' unbeaten season

Lady Greenbacks rough up Hillsboro for first loss, 36-31

In Hillsboro’s first meeting Friday night with the visiting Pratt Lady Greenbacks, the Lady Trojans found it tough to play their game of up-tempo, guard-oriented defense. The team’s success was a result of good ball distribution and shot selection along with pressure defense.

Pratt (5-1) was able to dictate the pace and use size to its advantage, handing Hillsboro (7-1) its first loss of the season, 36-31.

“It was probably one of the more physical ball games we’ve played this year,” Lady Trojans coach Nathan Hiebert said. “There were girls on the floor all the time both ways, I was just amazed at how much girls were getting hit.

“We like to pressure teams into turnovers and quick shots. Defensively, we did a nice job with that but Pratt did that to us, too. I bet we averaged one or two passes max per possession.”

With the “twin tower” duo of 6-foot-1 Aubrey Hoover and 6-foot-2 Payton Hoeme, Pratt was able to alter the Trojans’ shots, limiting them to a chilling 20 percent from the field, including 4-for-30 in the second half.

The Greenbacks’ advantage in height didn’t help them much in terms of shooting though, as they struggled for 29 percent on the night and 19 in the first half.

Neither team got off to a fast start with Hillsboro going nearly half of the first quarter scoreless until Allie Faul flushed a 3 to pull within 1 at 4-3.

The Greenbacks’ defense gave Hillsboro fits handling the ball all night, forcing 18 turnovers with four coming in the game’s opening four minutes.

The Trojans tried to get the ball inside to Tena Loewen, but Loewen often found herself doubled, even triple-teamed at times, she finished with just 6 points.

A 3-pointer by Callie Serene and 3 consecutive points from Elise Heyen helped the Trojans push their lead as far as 4 three times in the game’s first 10 minutes.

Serene finished with a team-high 10 points, including 2-of-3 from outside and 4-of-4 at the free-throw line.

The lead changed hands twice more and tied once before Cheyenne Eisenhour hit a buzzer-beating 3, leaving the score knotted at halftime, 17-17.

The tide started to turn in the Greenbacks’ favor in the third quarter after surrendering to a blustery 6-for-20 shooting to the Lady Trojans in the first half.

After Krista Reimer made the first of a pair of free throws to put the Trojans up, 20-19, two minutes into the second half, Hillsboro didn’t challenge.

Eisenhour regained the lead for the Greenbacks, sparking a 9-0 run, which left Hillsboro trailing 28-20 until Loewen ended the lapse with 4:28 left in the game.

The Trojans managed a frigid 2-for-19 in the third quarter while Pratt heated up to knock down 45 percent in the second half.

Hillsboro finally woke up, roaring back to pull within 1, 30-29, on a basket by Loewen with just over two minutes remaining in the game.

Loewen had the chance to tie the game again, but her 3-point play ended on a miss at the line.

Pratt stretched the lead to 34-29 with Hoover scoring inside with about a minute to go.

The Trojans still had a chance 12 seconds later after a pair of free throws by Serene closed the gap, 34-31.

But Hillsboro’s unbeaten season collapsed with about a half minute left on another basket by Hoover and a costly turnover on the Trojans’ next possession.

“There have been things we’ve talked about through the first seven games and I warned them, ‘We’re going to be playing better teams’,” Hiebert said. “You say things sometimes, playing a little lighter competition you don’t have to do it as sharp.

“Hopefully, we’ll see you just can’t go through the motions and put a little more competitive drive in the girls. Hopefully this was a good kick to get us back to where we need to be going.”

The Trojans traveled to Lyons Tuesday night for a rematch with the Lady Lions before hosting Nickerson at 6 p.m. Friday.

Last modified Jan. 12, 2011

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