Last-second shot pushes Lady Trojans past Smoky Valley, 41-39
Throughout the year, Lady Trojan junior guard Courtney Weber’s contribution has not been scoring.
She is best at pestering opponents’ guards on defense and setting others up for baskets with assists.
Through most of Friday’s game in Lindsborg between the Smoky Valley Lady Vikings and the Trojans, Weber was held scoreless.
But with the game rapidly winding down and threatening to go into an extra session, the Vikings made the mistake of leaving Weber open on the right wing.
Weber made Smoky Valley pay, sinking a 2-point shot to beat the buzzer and ruin the Vikings’ homecoming with a thrilling 41-39 win.
The win lifts Hillsboro to 14-3 overall and puts them in a two-way tie for first place in the Central Kansas League with the Haven Wildcats at 5-1.
“I didn’t have that play in mind,” Trojan coach Nathan Hiebert said. “We wanted to make sure we spread them (Vikings) out and try to attack inside.
“I’m glad that Callie (Serene) got the ball to Addie (Lackey) and Addie got the ball to Courtney. Courtney was where we asked her to be, she spotted up, and made a nice shot. That was a great shot for her.”
With the Trojans drained from playing a game the night before, the contest didn’t get exciting until midway through the second half.
Despite giving up a huge amount of size and space inside to the Viking tandem of 6-foot-1 Kimi Lindshield and 5-foot-11 Lori Dauer, the Trojans were able to maintain a lead through the halfway point of the fourth quarter.
Hillsboro grabbed a 6-0 lead through the opening four minutes with its defense limiting the Vikings to a mere 32 shots — 18 less than the Trojans — with the Vikings shooting 53 percent.
The Trojans had Smoky Valley doubled up after the first quarter, 8-4, leading by as much as 6 three times through the first half en route to a 16-13 lead at the break.
Shooting 7-for-25 from the field in the first half — 18-of-50 on the night — the Trojans could never put anymore than a 9-point distance between them and the Vikings.
Hillsboro used another 6-0 run to start the second half, capped by Lackey’s basket just under a minute in to push the lead to 22-13.
Lackey and Lindshield tied for game-high honors, finishing with 13 points each.
Lindshield used her muscle to take over the second half, pulling the Vikings to 22-20 with 4:29 left in the third quarter.
Stephanie Sanders’ fast break gave the Trojans a 27-22 edge about 1:20 later, before Hillsboro stared reeling.
Lackey’s basket with just under a minute left in the third quarter was the final one the Trojans would score during the next 3:15.
Still clinging to a 29-26 lead heading into the final stretch, Hillsboro lost the lead on a 3 by Taryn Scott with less than four minutes remaining.
The waning 3:30 got wild with three lead changes and two ties.
Serene answered Scott’s basket to regain the lead and Callie Weibert followed up for the Vikings with another 3-pointer.
The Trojans fell back as much as 37-34, but Allie Faul canned another trey to knot the game with 1:44 on the clock.
One more lead change and Linshield’s basket with 12 seconds remaining left overtime looming large for the Trojans.
With the Vikings packing the inside and clamping down on Tena Loewen, Lackey was able to find Weber for the open, game-winning shot.
“Our posts didn’t move, they were kind of leaning on Lindshield and Dauer, and if you do that, they’ll beat you every time,” Hiebert said. “You want to play a physical post player; you’ve got to win with quickness.
“We didn’t execute as well offensively in the second half. We just weren’t mentally tough. (If) we want to be the best team in the state, we’ve got to be mentally tough.”
The Trojans face two games at home this week starting with a Tuesday night meeting with the Halstead Lady Dragons.
Hillsboro closes out the week Friday in its first ever meeting against the Kingman Lady Eagles in a 6 p.m. tipoff.
Although bad weather postponed the Feb. 8 game to Thursday, the Trojans had little trouble dispatching the visiting Sterling Lady Black Bears, 51-28.
Hillsboro had a balanced scoring attack with 12 of its 14 players notching baskets, paced by Loewen’s team-high 7 points.
The Trojans took a 13-7 lead after one quarter and were never seriously threatened again, racing to a 31-12 halftime lead.
Hillsboro shot 44 percent from the floor and 43 from outside while holding the Black Bears to just under 30 percent.