Hillsboro High School basketball teams claimed their first victories of the season Tuesday night in the opening round of pool play in the Cheney Cardinal Classic. The Trojans played host to Smoky Valley, winning the girls’ game 38-37 while the boys claimed a 50-39 victory.
As the score suggests, the girls’ game was particularly dramatic. With her team trailing by four points after Smoky’s Danielle DuMars sank a pair of free throws with 8.6 seconds left on the clock, Hillsboro’s Tiffany Rooker nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 5 seconds left. HHS immediately called a timeout to set up the defense for the inbounds play underneath the Trojan bucket. On the throw in, Abi Humber grabbed the ball and laid it in the basket to pull out the victory as the buzzer sounded.
It appeared the Trojans would have their way with the Vikings, taking a 13-6 lead after one quarter, and looking strong on both ends of the court. HHS built its lead to 21-11 with 2:55 left in the half before Smoky’s Kimi Lindshield scored back-to-back baskets to close the gap to 21-15 at the break.
The Vikings picked up in the third quarter where they left off and claimed its first lead at 25-23 with 4:56 to play. The quarter ended with the two teams tied at 27.
With the score knotted at 29 and 4:50 to play, Smoky Valley appeared to take control with a 6-0 run, prompting a Trojan timeout with 2:16 to go. Dakota Kaufman scored seconds after play resumed and Kassidi Luthi followed with a basket off a steal with a minute to go to close the margin to 35-33 before DuMars sank her two free throws with 8.6 seconds left.
Kaufman led HHS with 10 points, but she got scoring help from Rooker with eight points, Humber with six and Luthi and Allie Faul with five each.
In the boys’ game, Hillsboro took an early 6-0 lead. But Smoky Valley, fueled by Chase Dippel’s seven points, established a 13-10 lead by the end of the quarter.
The game remained razor close with the Vikings leading 19-18. But a rebound and put-back by David Loewen with 2:20 left in the half ignited a 12-0 Trojan run and a 30-19 lead at the break. Sophomore Ben Bebermeyer came off the bench to hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the final 54 seconds of the half to cap the explosion.
The two teams battled evenly the entire second half, vacillating on either side of Hillsboro’s double-digit lead. The Trojans maintained their poise down the stretch to claim the victory.
Loewen capped another strong effort with a team-high 17 points. Daniel Jost was a major contributor with 14.
Jost, Clay Shewey and Bebermeyer combined to hold the high-scoring Dippel to a below-average 16 points on 7-for-19 shooting from the floor.
With the wins, both Trojan teams are 1-1 for the young season. On Friday, they travel to Cheney for the second round of pool play versus the host school. Saturday’s matchups will be determined by the outcome of pool play.