In a game where offense was a limited commodity for both teams, the Hillsboro girls outlasted Southeast of Saline, 27-24, Thursday at Brown Gymnasium. The win improved Hillsboro’s record to 3-2 for the season.
The Trojans never trailed through the first half as both team struggled to score. For SES, the biggest problem was turnovers; the visitors committed 11 in the first quarter and 15 by halftime.
Hillsboro, meanwhile, couldn’t get the ball in the basket. Still, the Trojans made three of 15 shots in the first quarter for a 7-5 lead.
By halftime, the hometown Trojans still clung to a two-point lead at 13-11. Hillsboro made five of 26 shots in the half (19 percent) while the visiting Trojans shot 25 percent (5-20).
In the third quarter, SES took its first lead of the night when Kylee Thaxton scored in the paint for a 17-16 edge. But Hillsboro led 18-17 at the end of the quarter when Paige Proffitt scored with 23 seconds left.
The game seemed to turn Hillsboro’s way for good when Abby Sechrist hit a 6-foot jumper with 1:43 left in the game and Rebecca Kaufman followed with a three-point basket for a 25-22 lead with at the 1:06 mark.
Coach Nathan Hiebert said those back-to-back possessions were the offensive highlight of the night.
“I thought those kinds of possessions, where we showed some composure and worked together and executed, we got the shots we wanted rather than taking the shots that they’re letting us take,” he said. “The shots they let you shoot generally are not high-percentage.”
But SES persisted, responding with two free throws in four attempts to pull within a point at 25-24.
Hillsboro had an opportunity to put the game away, but missed the front end of three consecutive one-and-one opportunities over a span of 23 seconds.
The score remained 25-24 before Sienna Kaufman was fouled with 4.3 seconds left. The junior and made both free throws for the 27-24 final score.
Rebecca Kaufman led the team with 12 points and Sienna Kaufman added six. As a team, Hillsboro finished with 23 percent shooting (10-43) from the floor while SES settled for 20 percent accuracy (9-45).
“Defensively, we’ve done some nice things so far this year,” Hiebert said. “We’ve been able to frustrate some teams. For the most part, we bothered them and we did a good job fronting the post. They had some decent size, and they really tried to get it inside. I thought our girls did a nice job bothering that.”
In the end, free-throw shooting made the difference, with Hillsboro making 8-17 while SES managed only 2-10.
Coming—Hillsboro was schedule to take on the Marion girls Tuesday at Marion in the final game before the break. Go to hillsborofreepress.com for same-night coverage.