The Trojans turned the ball over 13 times in the opening quarter and managed one basket on only four shots to trail the Black Bears at the first break, 11-2. Junior Abby Sechrist provided the lone basket at the 4:15 mark.
“I think we were scared,” coach Nathan Hiebert said of the rough start. “We threw things away. I called a timeout and all I said was ‘calm down.’ We were just rushing our passes, our decisions. The second quarter we settled down and did some good things.”
By the middle of the second quarter, the Trojans began to come together. Trailing 17-2 at that point, Hillsboro launched a 9-0 run to finish the first half with Sechrist contributing five points and Paige Proffitt and Sienna Kaufman each adding two.
Hillsboro pulled as close as 25-19 when Sechrist drained another three from the wing at the 2:22 mark of the third quarter, and was still in contention with a 27-19 deficit at the end of the period.
Unfortunately, the Trojans slipped back into struggle mode in the final quarter. Sterling went on an 11-0 run in the first four minutes for a 38-19 lead, stifling any hope of a home-court comeback. Hillsboro made three of 12 shots during the quarter.
“We did some good things at times,” Hiebert said. “When we had positive runs, it was because we (defended) well, we rebounded, and offensively we were strong with the ball.”
Sechrist finished with 10 points and Sienna Kaufman added nine. As a team, Hillsboro shot 10-35 from the floor (28 percent) while Sterling shot 15-49 (30 percent). Hillsboro made only four of 14 free-throws during the game while the visitors cashed in 11 of 23 opportunities. For the game, the Trojans committed 30, Sterling 17.
“When we played as a team, good things happened,” Hiebert said. “When we didn’t, bad things happened.”
Coming—Hillsboro (0-1) will be competing this week at the Moundridge Pre-Season Tournament. The Trojans were scheduled to take on Lyons on Tuesday, then will play Inman at 4 p.m. Thursday and Moundridge at 7 p.m. Friday. Look for same-night reports at hillsborofreepress.com.