The Hillsboro High basketball teams split their games at Nickerson on Tuesday night (Dec. 15). Playing by far their best game of the year against a quality opponent, the Trojans girls prevailed over the Panthers, 43-28, while the boys fell to a physically superior Nickerson team, 57-38.
The HHS girls squared off against a Nickerson team that was taller, athletic and more experienced, but the Trojans did hold one advantage — superior defense, harassing the Panthers into 11-for-51 (22 percent) shooting from the floor for the night.
With Dakota Kaufman scoring the first five points of the game and nine in the first quarter, Hillsboro led 13-8 at the first break. By halftime, though, Nickerson had cut the margin to 19-17.
Kaufman again lit the flame for HHS in the second half, scoring five straight. The run extended to 8-0 before Nickerson broke the ice with a 3-pointer at the 2:54 mark. Callie Serene?s 3-pointer with two seconds left in the quarter gave Hillsboro a 33-24 margin at the final break.
A 7-2 surge over the first four minutes of the final quarter kept the Trojans comfortably ahead until the end. Kaufman finished with 21 points as the Trojans improved to 2-3 for the season.
The Hillsboro boys, meanwhile, faced off against a team that was taller, faster, and more athletic — but the Panthers were their own worst enemy in the early going, pushing the pace too hard at points and turning the ball over.
Hillsboro led as late as 6-4 with 4:37 left in the first quarter, but hit a scoring drought as Nickerson finished the quarter with a 9-0 run for a 13-6 lead.
By halftime, Nickerson seemed to find its stride, and used a 13-2 run over the last 5:36 to go up 32-14 by halftime.
To their credit, the Trojans never cashed in their chips, but poor shooting (29 percent for the game) kept them from making any kind of meaningful run at the Panthers.
Nathan Vogel led Hillsboro (1-4) with 13 points while Ben Bebermeyer and Jesse Allen each added 11. Undefeated Nickerson (5-0) got 22 points from 6-foot-6 Troy Smith.
The Hillsboro teams will close out their rugged pre-holiday schedule with their first home games of the season after starting with five road games. Sterling comes to Brown Gymnasium with the girls? game beginning at 6 p.m. and the boys starting at 7:30 p.m.