HHS girls press on to 5-0

Tena Loewen poured in 21 points to lead the Hillsboro Trojans to an impressive 54-34 win at Sterling Friday in a battle of unbeaten teams.

It appeared Hillsboro (5-0) might have its hands full with Sterling?s 6-foot-2-inch senior, Anna Proffitt, who scored five points to help her team to a 9-8 lead after one quarter as Hills?boro made only three of 15 shots from the floor.

But the game changed profoundly in the second quarter when the Trojans exploded for a 22-4 surge with Loewen providing eight points and Krista Reimer four.

?I thought we were doing some good things in the first quarter,? coach Nathan Hiebert said. ?But we were shooting a lot of outside shots, we weren?t as aggressive to the basket. In the second quarter we got a lot more opportunities at the basket. We didn?t settle for outside shots.?

Meanwhile, Hillsboro?s relent?less defensive pressure forced five turnovers and shut out the Black Bears for the first five minutes before Dani Dowell broke the drought with a bucket in the lane.

With Hillsboro leading 30-13 at intermission, Loewen contributed six more points in the third period to help HHS push the margin to 21 points by the end of the third quarter, 39-28.

The Trojans led by as much as 27 points, 51-24, when Amy Bartel scored with 2:21 left in the contest.

Loewen?s 21 points easily was her most productive game so far this season after a previous high of 12. With Hillsboro pushing the pace of the game, Proffitt became a non-factor and Dowell finished as the Lions? top scorer with 12 points.

As a team, the Trojans shot 51 percent from the field (22-43) while their tenacious defense limited the Black Bears (5-1) to under 33 percent (15-46).

?Our defensive pressure was the key,? Hiebert said. ?You could tell they were getting tired, they were rushing their shots and shooting short. We?d get the rebound and get an easy backet back on our end because they didn?t transition well.

?That?s the benefit of having 12 to 14 players who can come in.?

Smoky Valley?Hillsboro remained undefeated thanks to a late rally that propelled them to a 45-41 victory over Smoky Valley last Tuesday in Brown Gymnasium.

The Trojans (4-0) played a less-than-impressive game against a Viking (1-2) squad that had superior size in the post but below-average guard play.

Neither team could make a field goal until Hillsboro?s Courtney Weber broke the ice at the 1:32 mark of the first quarter. The score was a mere 3-3 when the quarter ended.

Offensive production for both teams picked up in the second period, but the standoff continued. Elise Heyen?s basket with 39 seconds left gave Hillsboro its largest lead to that point, 18-15, going into halftime.

In the third quarter, the Vikings used their superior size in the paint to launch an 8-2 run midway through the period that carried them to a 25-22 lead.

Hillsboro?s Callie Serene responded with a three-pointer to tie the game. Two-point baskets by Weber, Krista Reimer and Serene put the Trojans on top by three at the end of quarter, 31-28.

But Hillsboro didn?t score again Allie Faul knocked down a three-point shot with 4:31 left in the game. The basket pulled HHS back to within one point after the Vikings had established a 35-31 lead 20 seconds earlier.

The Trojans then turned up their full-court pressure a notch or two and it paid off. A free throw by Serene and a bucket by Reimer put the Trojans back in front briefly, 37-35, with three minutes to go.

But Smoky?s Taylor Whit?taker converted an old-fashioned three-point play and Lori Dauer added a basket in the paint to give the Vikings a 40-37 lead with 1:53 left.

The Trojans then stepped up?to the free-throw line, that is?and made eight of 10 charity shots over the final 1:29 to escape with the four-point win.

Reimer, Hillsboro 5-foot, 9-inch post, was the only Trojan to show some consistency on offense, finishing with a season-high 16 points. Many of her points?whether by baskets or foul shots?came in the paint against the Vikings? two big bodies, 6-1 Kimberley Lindshield and 5-11 Dauer.

?In the first half she tried to shoot over (Lindshield),? Hiebert said about Reimer. ?But in the second half I thought she did a better job of driving to the basket and crashing the boards. She was much more active.?

Dauer and Lindshield combined for 29 of Smoky Valley?s points. Dauer contributed 20.

As for the defensive surge at the end, Hiebert said the game plan was to play at that level all game long.

?We talked early on that we wanted to deny the inbound (pass) because they didn?t have good ball handlers,? he said.

?I know it was their posts scoring, but I was pretty disappointed in our guard play. The reason we got easier shots and buckets at the end was better guard play.?

Coming?Hillsboro was scheduled to play at Marion on Tuesday to close out the pre-holiday portion of the schedule. A report and photos of that game will be posted the same night at hillsborofree?press.com.

Hillsboro will return to action Jan. 4 when the Trojans travel to Halstead.

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