Hillsboro High girls’ and boys’ both tasted sweet revenge Tuesday night, claiming victories against Nickerson squads that whipped them by double digits in early January.
For the girls, it was all about defense as the Trojans outlasted the Panthers 29-22. The game was tied at 6 after one quarter, but Nickerson took a 15-11 lead into the locker room at halftime.
By the end of the third quarter, the Trojans had climbed back to within one point, 16-15. Hillsboro took its first lead of the night 19 seconds into the fourth quarter when Amy Neufeld sank a couple of free throws. But it was 3-point basket by Amanda Faber 1:20 later that gave the Trojans a relatively sizable lead at 21-17. Nickerson pulled back into a tie at 22 with 3:25 to play. But the Trojan shut down the Panthers the rest of the way and scored seven points for themselves to claim the victory.
With the win, Hillsboro improves to 7-9 overall and 4-3 in league play while the Panthers fall to 11-5 and 5-3.
The boys’ game was a gritty, defensive-oriented contest too, but the Trojans prevailed at the end of it, 48-47. Hillsboro trailed for most of the first half, but a 7-2 surge in the last 1:09 — capped by an NBA-length 3-pointer by Gavin Serene — gave Hillsboro a 28-23 advantage at halftime.
The Trojans struggled in the third quarter with 1-for-9 shooting, enabling Nickerson to regain the lead at the final break, 34-31.
In the fourth quarter, David Loewen stepped up for Hillsboro, scoring eight of his game-high 16 points through the first 4:40 of the period.
With Hillsboro leading 43-42, Daniel Jost sank a pair of free throws with 47.2 seconds left. Following a basket by Nickerson’s Mace Krol, Mitchell Koop made one of two free throws with 32.7 seconds left to make the score 46-44.
When Krol missed his next shot, Loewen pulled down a huge rebound, got the ball downcourt to Jost, who laid it into the basket with 9.3 seconds left to seal the victory. Scott Stroberg beat the final buzzer with a meaningless 3-pointer to make the final score 48-47.
Loewen finished with 16 points to lead Hillsboro, with Jost tossing in 15.
The win improved the Trojans’ season record to 10-6 and its league record to 6-1 while Nickerson dropped to 10-7 and 3-5.