Trojans sweep Halstead
Girls snap 6-year losing streak to Dragons
Building momentum to carry into the postseason is key with March right around the corner.
The Hillsboro High School girls’ basketball team got a big boost of confidence in Monday night’s home finale — a make-up game against perennial pest Halstead.
With a convincing 51-31 victory Monday, the Trojans avenged a loss earlier in the season and snapped six years of shortcomings on the hardwood to push their record to 12-7.
The Trojan boys had no problems with the Dragons the first time out, and they didn’t Monday either, cruising to a 68-41 victory to up their record to 18-1.
Hillsboro wrapped up the regular season Tuesday night at Nickerson before heading into a Remington sub-state starting next week with the boys the top seed and the girls likely the fifth-seed.
Barrack Obama was still in the White House the last time Hillsboro beat Halstead on January 15, 2016.
Coach Nathan Hiebert’s teams came close in 2020 and 2021, but Hillsboro couldn’t beat former Dragon standout Karenna Gerber.
Although Gerber’s at Pittsburg State now, Hillsboro still couldn’t break the curse last month in a 60-54 loss. But there’d be no denying the Trojans this time.
Hillsboro wasted little time jumping on the Dragons, erupting for a quick 18-6 lead in the first quarter despite shooting 30% from the floor.
Hillsboro’s carelessness and 17 turnovers for the game kept Halstead hanging around in the first half, with the Dragons down 25-16 at halftime.
Emersyn Funk, Savannah Shahan, and Zaylee Werth came through when Hillsboro needed baskets in the second half.
Werth notched a double-double with a game-high 13 points and 10 assists, finishing one rebound shy of a triple-double.
Shahan added 11 points, and Funk scored 10 points in her final regular season game at Hillsboro while grabbing nine rebounds. Senior Reece Hefley chipped in with 8 points.
Hillsboro demolished Halstead 49-24 on the boards, with a 13-6 edge offensively, while holding the Dragons to a paltry 19% shooting in the second half, 22% overall.
The Trojans heated up the second half to hit 12-for-26 from the field — 39% for the game — building a commanding 41-23 lead to start the fourth quarter, dashing any chance of history repeating itself.
Halstead stayed with Hillsboro for one quarter, but that’s not nearly long enough against a team like the Trojans, who can inflict damage on opponents both offensively and defensively.
Once the Trojans’ three-headed monster of Brekyn and Grayson Ratzlaff and Matt Potucek get going, games have a tendency to spiral, and Hillsboro buried Halstead by halftime, 42-16, behind a 29-5 second quarter and a scalding 61% shooting, 44% overall.
Grayson scored a game-high 19 points, including a pair of dunks, Potucek had 18, and Brekyn had 17.
Halstead almost won the third quarter, but Hillsboro’s swarming defense gave the Dragons a headache, forcing 23 turnovers with 17 thefts, with the Trojans pushing the lead as far as 36.
The Trojans’ struggles came from behind the arc, hitting a frigid 16% and a mere 7-for-12 from the free-throw line.
Last modified Feb. 24, 2022