HILLSBORO — The Hesston Swather girls’ basketball team was never able to get completely comfortable, but was able to keep Republic County at arm’s length for most of the game to win 38-26 Tuesday in the opening round of the Hillsboro Trojan Classic at Tabor College.

Elise Kaiser scored 25 points for the 8-3 Swathers. Alexis Hansen, Tobi Wilber and Emily Jensik each had five points to lead the 2-8 Buffaloes. Hansen had 10 rebounds.

“Our mentality at halftime was to not let them come back,” Kaiser said. “We did not want to let up, so we came out strong like we did. They were playing a 2-3 zone. In the zone, we were trying to dribble in and kick out. Get the posts a touch and either kick it out or go to the basket.”

Hesston gets back on track after a loss to rival Halstead 46-32. The Swathers snap a two-game losing streak.

“We really needed this to get back our confidence,” Kaiser said. “It was good to get back to winning. We know we can play with anyone.”

Neither team generated much offense in the first quarter. Down 6-3, Hesston ended the quarter on a 5-0 run. Kaiser had all of Hesston’s scoring in the first quarter.

Six Buffalo turnovers sparked an 8-0 Hesston run to start the second quarter. After a time out, Emma Morris broke the shutout with a 3-pointer with 4:46 left in the half. Republic County ended the half on a run to get back within four, 21-17.

The Buffaloes finished the half with 15 turnovers to six for Hesston. Republic County was four for four shooting in the second quarter, while Hesston was five of 15.

Hesston outscored Republic County 10-3 in the third quarter to lead 31-20. Rylie Schilling had six points in the period.

“Riley had a great quarter,” Kaiser said. “She did really good.”

The Swathers were outscored 6-2 to start the fourth quarter. Kaiser broke the run with a layup with 3:05 left in regulation. Neither team would score again until Kaiser hit a layup with 22 seconds left. Kaiser added a free throw with two seconds remaining.

Hesston plays at 6 p.m. Thursday (note time change) in the semifinals against 8-1 Eureka at Hillsboro High School. Eureka downed host Hillsboro 67-38.

“We’re just going to have to come out with the mentality to be the aggressors,” Kaiser said. “We don’t want to be timid.”

REPUBLIC COUNTY (2-8) — Lewellyn 2-4 0-0 4, I.Wheeler 1-3 0-0 2, Hansen 1-5 3-6 5, Morris 1-5 1-5 3, Wilber 2-4 1-2 5, Jensik 2-7 0-0 5, Cole 1-1 0-0 2, TOTALS 10-29 4-8 26.

HESSTON (8-3) — Dawes 0-0 0-0 0, Yoder 1-4 0-0 2, Kaiser 10-17 4-6 25, Vogt 1-4 0-0 2, Ferralez 0-2 1-2 1, Schilling 3-9 0-3 6, Martin 0-0 0-0 0, Deegan 1-4 0-1 2, TOTALS 16-40 5-11 38.

Republic Co.;6;11;3;6;—26

Hesston;8;13;10;7;—38

Total fouls — RC 13, Hes. 12. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — none. 3-point shooting — RC 2-11 (I.Wheeler 0-1, Hansen 0-1, Morris 1-5, Jensik 1-4), Hes. 1-9 (Yoder 0-3, Kaiser 1-5, Deegan 0-1). Rebounds — RC 34 (Hansen 10), Hes. 15 (Kaiser 4, Schilling 4). Assists — RC 6 (Morris 2, Jensik 2), Hes. 6 (Kaiser 2, Vogt 2). Turnovers — RC 27 (Morris 6), Hes. 11 (Ferralez 3, Schilling 3). Blocked shots — RC 1 (Lewellyn 1), Hes. 3 (Kaiser 1, Vogt 1, Schilling 1). Steals — RC 7 (Morris 3, Wilber 3), Hes. 12 (Yoder 3).