It was a matchup of the two top teams in the tournament and in class 3A. Riley County showed why it is the top-ranked girls team in the state.
The Falcons defeated Hillsboro 47-29 on Saturday to win the Trojan Classic Tournament.
Hillsboro could not stop Riley County’s duel 3-point gunslingers Kelly Thomson and Tee Phebus. Thomson scored 22 points; she shot 6-for-13 from the field and 3-for-7 from beyond the arc. Often she would launch a shot from NBA range that would fall through the hoop barely touching the twine.
“She did exactly what we talked about in walkthrough,” head coach Nathan Hiebert said. “Try to cross her face. Try to stay on her hip. We couldn’t do that.”
Phebus scored 17 points and went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. The shooters combined for a 54 percent mark for the team from three.
“They’re a good team,” Hiebert said. “Those girls play basketball year-round. They’ve seen all these situations.”
The Falcons were able to do to the Trojans what Hillsboro usually does to opposing offenses. Hillsboro shot 25 percent from the field. They hit one 3-point shot, Courtney Weber being the unlikely shooter. The Trojans only managed 2 assists in the game.
Hillsboro began attacking Riley County’s 2-3 zone in the second quarter, scoring 13 points. Tena Loewen led the way, catching passes in the high post and then shooting over contesting post defenders after one dribble.
Loewen was a bright spot for the Trojan offense. She scored 12 points on 6-for-10 shooting. She was also Hillsboro’s top rebounder with 11. Hillsboro outrebounded the Falcons 23-22 and only surrendered one offensive board.
Addie Lackey was the Trojans’ next leading scorer with 10 points.
The Falcons switched to man-to-man in the third quarter and the Trojans were stymied. Hillsboro scored 4 points in the quarter. Once the Trojans started driving, Riley County switched back to zone.
“We just weren’t aggressive,” Hiebert said. “We were waiting for somebody to step up and lead.”
One of the things that hurt the Trojans was the absence of starting point guard Stephanie Sanders, whose right knee was injured against Wamego on Friday. The senior said she would receive an MRI on Monday. Hiebert said her right knee may just be hyperextended.
Sanders participated in warm-ups with the team but was noticeably hindered when attempting to run.
“She just wanted to be out there,” Hiebert said. “It was important to her to be with the team.”
Even though second place is usually a strong finish when facing top competition, Hiebert said his team was disappointed in the locker room after the game.
“We have a bad taste in our mouth,” he said.
He will implore the team to move better on offense and be aggressive on both ends of the floor.
“Last night we played to win,” Hiebert said of the win over Wamego. “Tonight we were playing not to lose. Sometimes a team needs a wakeup call in the middle of the season.”
Loewen: 12 points, 11 rebounds, 4 steals
Lackey: 10 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
Callie Serene: 4 points, 1 blocked shot
Weber: 3 points, 5 rebounds,
Maci Schlehuber: 1 assist
Danae Bina: 2 rebounds, 1 steal
Krista Reimer: 1 rebound
Hillsboro 57, Wamego 46
The Trojans 57-46 win over Wamego was an illustration of the team’s depth.
Off the bench, Weber was the team’s leading rebounder with 7 boards. She and Schlehuber tied for third on the team with 5 points apiece.
Schlehuber made several big plays in the game. She got a steal that started a fast break and nearly made another, picking off a pass like a defensive back; she was unable to tightrope along the sidelines to save the possession.
She was able to drive along the baseline and hit a layup between two defenders in the second quarter. She knocked down a 3-pointer to start the second half. She also had 3 assists.
Despite being one of the shorter players on the court, point guard Bina came up with two offensive rebounds in the second quarter. She had 5 boards total in the game.
Even Christina Morris, who only received 3 minutes, 43 seconds of playing time, created a steal and turnover on defense.
“We definitely had team chemistry,” Weber said. “Everyone contributed.”
Serene contributed offense. She let loose a 3-point barrage in the second quarter, hitting three of her five treys. She scored 24 points in the game on 8-for-12 shooting.
“She was awesome,” Weber said. “She couldn’t miss.”
For Loewen, her efforts came on the defensive end of the floor. Loewen guarded 6-foot-1 forward Kaylee Page for most of the game.
The task was a difficult one. Page brought the ball up the floor for Wamego. She possesses a sound shooting stroke — she hit four 3-pointers Friday — but can also play inside.
Loewen quickly dictated that the inside play was not going to be an option when she effectively fronted Page, denying her the ball.
Although Page scored 26 points, she did so going 8-for-30 from the floor. Loewen only allowed the Wamego forward to score 3 points in the third quarter, which went decisively to Hillsboro, 18-11.
“She shut her down,” Weber said of Loewen.
Addie Lackey was the leading passer for the Trojans with 7 assists. On one fast break, she patiently took the ball past the half-court line waiting to pass near the free-throw line to open Loewen running up the court.
“She opened it up for us,” Weber said of Lackey.
Serene: 24 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist
Lackey: 13 points, 2 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals
Schlehuber: 5 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal
Weber: 5 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist
Loewen: 4 points, 3 rebounds, 1 blocked shot
Reimer: 4 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist
Bina: 2 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists
Morris: 1 steal