Trojan girls defeat shorthanded Warrior team
The Hillsboro High School girls’ basketball team defeated Marion, 59-12, on Dec. 21 in Marion.
The Trojans grabbed 21 steals and forced 33 turnovers. Hillsboro started the game with a 12-0 run before leading 19-4 at the end of the first quarter. Addie Lackey led all scorers with 21 points. Tena Loewen led Hillsboro in rebounds with 7.
All of those facts were expected — Marion was without starting point guard Katey Ehrlich, and the Trojans are the No. 1 team in 3A. The situation didn’t get better for Marion after tipoff; Megan Richmond sat most of the first half after she picked up three fouls in three minutes, and Erin Meierhoff spent the entire second half in the training room after injuring her ankle at the end of the first half.
“I wouldn’t think her season would be over,” Marion head coach Kelly Robson said of Meierhoff after the game.
He wasn’t sure of the severity of Meierhoff’s injury, but said with Christmas break to help recover, she might miss a small number of games.
Robson said there isn’t much a team can take away from a game like the one against Hillsboro, but he told his players to each think of the high points they had in the game and to hold on to those successes. A loss like that right before an extended break could hurt some teams, but Robson didn’t think his players would let it weight them down. He expected them to come back from Christmas break ready for the second half of the season.
There were season-long developments that manifested themselves for Hillsboro on Dec. 21. Point guard Danae Bina led the Trojans in steals with 9. Her man-to-man defense on any of the Marion ball handlers was stifling, riding opponents up and down the court.
“That defensive pressure, she’s great with it,” Hillsboro head coach Nathan Hiebert said.
Bina’s defense — which Hiebert said has improved because Bina is fouling less due to adjustments with positioning — is one example of Bina’s athleticism. Bina’s speed and leaping ability has allowed her to make contributions in a variety of areas this season.
Bina has developed into a reliable third playmaking option after Loewen and Lackey, however, freshman Alex Ratzlaff might be vying for a similar status. Ratzlaff was the second leading scorer for Hillsboro on Friday with 13 points. The way she scored showed an all-around offensive game she had not unleashed this season. Ratzlaff went 2-for-4 from the 3-point arc. She also hit three free throws. Being a gifted athlete, it would make sense that Ratzlaff would pickup points on layups running the floor. However, the development of an outside game for the freshman might speak to her being ahead of schedule picking up the Trojans’ offense.
“You see that natural ability come out, but she was able to play in the system,” Hiebert said.
Hiebert said Ratzlaff has had to adjust to the defensive intensity asked of each of the Trojans. She is responding to that challenge. She blocked multiple shots on Dec. 21 including one effort where she made a play only she could make late in the second quarter. With Marion on a fast break, the Warriors’ shooter thought she had an open jump shot after looking back to see Ratzlaff several feet behind her in pursuit. Ratzlaff burst into a different gear to catch up to her target and then spiked an attempted shot out of bounds, knocking the ball just out of the Marion player’s grasp as she released it.
Marion resumes play Jan. 4 at Moundridge. Hillsboro resumes play Jan. 4 at home vs. Pratt.