The Hillsboro High School basketball team opened the 2010-11 season Tuesday, Dec. 7, against perennially tough Garden Plain and came away with a split.
The Trojan girls turned in a solid first-game performance, and stayed in control on the way to a 47-39 victory. Afterward, the Trojan boys raised a few eyebrows, too, battling back from a 12-point first-quarter deficit to the push the physically dominant Owls into two overtime before losing 64-58.
In the girls? game, the Trojans jumped to a 9-0 lead before Garden Plain got on the scoreboard with 4:55 left in the quarter. But the Owls then battled all the way back to a 12-9 deficit by the end of the period. By halftime, HHS had pushed the lead back to nine, 24-15.
Hillsboro accomplished its first double-digit lead of the season when freshman Addie Lackey scored on 10-foot jumper from the baseline with 22 seconds left in the third period, and Hillsboro took that 37-26 lead into the final period.
HHS led by as many 14 at 42-28 before the Owls started chipping away at the lead. The margin never grew closer than nine points until the Owl scored in the final seconds for the eight-point margin at the end.
Lackey finished with a team-high 14 points in her Trojan debut. As a team, HHS shot 34 percent (16-47) from the floor and made 11 of 19 free throws. The Owls shot nearly 38 percent from the field (18-48), but made only two of 14 free throws.
BOYS GAME — Facing a significant height disadvantage against the taller Owls, the Trojan boys appeared to be in for a long night when Garden Plain built a 16-4 lead with two minutes to go in the first quarter. But a basket by Jesse Allen and a three-pointer by Ben Bebermeyer at the buzzer brought HHS back to within 16-9 at the break.
The Trojans seemed to come together defensively in the second period, holding the visitors two points through the first 5:45 of the quarter. By halftime, Hillsboro was within 23-21.
The Trojans kept the momentum going into the third period and may have played their best offense of the night on the way to a 36-31 lead when Jarod Hamm scored with 1:29 left in the period. But Garden Plain rallied to close the gap to 38-36 by quarter?s end.
The margin between the teams never exceeded two points in the fourth quarter. Hillsboro led 49-47 with 1:42 left in regulation on a basket by Bebermeyer. But Garden Plain came right back to tie the game. Two turnovers in the final half-minute kept HHS from breaking the 49-49 tie.
The deadlock continued into the first overtime. When Brett Weinbrenner?s shot was blocked in the final seconds, the game went into a second overtime tied at 54. But three turnovers and only one made basket by HHS opened the door for the Owls to claim the six-point victory as 6-foot-6 Chris Sponsel scored some key baskets down the home stretch.
Coming off a frustrating offensive season in 2009-10, Bebermeyer turned in a strong performance in his first game as a senior, scoring 26 points to lead his team.