Hillsboro?s basketball teams capped a busy week at Sterling on Friday (Feb. 5), with both teams experiencing consistent outcomes in all three nights of action. The Trojan girls posted their third victory of the week by a margin of at least 20 points by beating the Black Bears, 54-34, while the Trojan boys lost their third win-able game in four days, this time by a score of 59-52.
The Hillsboro girls got off to another blistering start, putting up a 13-0 lead before the Black Bears finally scored with 1:49 left in the opening period. At the buzzer, Hillsboro was up 17-5, with Dakota Kaufman contributing seven points to the lead.
Candace Weinbrenner and Tena Loewen made back-to-back baskets to start the second quarter, pushing the lead to 21-5. But the Trojans suddenly shut down, committing four turnovers and missing eight straight field-goal attempts and two free throws before Kaufman scored with 37 seconds left in the half. Even so, the Trojans still led at intermission, 23-15.
Hillsboro seemed to have recovered its rhythm as the third quarter started, launching an 8-2 run through the first four minutes. By the end of the period, the lead stood at 37-25.
Kaufman was a one-person wrecking crew at the start of the fourth quarter, scoring seven unanswered points, including two coast-to-coast layups after pulling down a rebound on the defensive end. Tena Loewen chipped in four points and Allie Faul two before Sterling called a timeout with 3:15 to play and Hillsboro enjoying its biggest lead of the night at 51-31. Coach Nathan Hiebert then cleared his bench for the final minutes.
Kaufman fueled Hillsboro attack once again with 21 points, but got strong support from Loewen, who tossed in a career-best 16 points in her freshman season. As a team, the Trojans made better than half their shots (23-45) while holding the home team to 27 percent success (11-41).
With the win, the Trojans? 11th in 12 games, Hillsboro improves to 11-4 for the year and remains unbeaten in league play at 6-0. Sterling drops to 4-11, 1-5.
In the boys? game, the Trojans and Black Bears hooked up in a physical battle that sometimes bordered on brutal. Both teams made it to the one-and-one bonus within the first minute of the second quarter. The first quarter ended with Sterling leading 16-14, but by the end of the half, Hillsboro had muscled into a 28-27 advantage.
HHS scored the first basket of the third quarter, but a 7-0 Sterling run put the Black Bears up 34-30. Then, consecutive baskets by Ben Bebermeyer, Nathan Vogel and Bebermeyer again vaulted the Trojans back in front, 36-34, at the midway point of the quarter. Sterling reeled of seven straight points before Vogel scored off a steal with eight seconds left to make the score 41-38, Sterling.
Sterling held the lead the rest of the way. After Bebermeyer fouled out with 3:11 to play, the Trojans got a couple of 3-point baskets from the bench by way of Luke Moore and Daniel Dick to close the final margin to seven points.
Bebermeyer scored 14 to pace HHS, who slipped to 2-13 for the season and 0-6 in league play. Nathan Vogel and Jesse Allen each added 10.
Sterling improved to 8-7 but finally posted a league victory to stand at 1-5.
(Free Press photos by Don Ratzlaff)