Hillsboro girls struggle in Moundridge

Kinsey Kleiner moves in for a layup in Thursday’s game.Karrie Rathbone/special to the Free PressThe Hillsboro girls played three games last week in the Moundridge Tournament. While they lost all three games, they showed some great promise of what we can hopefully look forward to the rest of the season.

“The Moundridge Tournament is a great early season tournament for us. We see some good competition and we are challenged both physically (three games in four days) and mentally,” said Coach Nathan Hiebert.

Hillsboro opened with a tough Inman team to start the tournament. Inman came out ahead, 45-9, behind a great defensive effort.

“Inman was a very solid team, they went to state last year and you could see how their level of intensity and focus has risen from a year ago. They play with a sense of purpose and unity. We really struggled on Tuesday. We did not handle the adversity very well. We had some good looks at times, but when that didn’t go in, it got harder and harder to score. Inman forced us into a lot of errors and rushed shots. Those games don’t feel great, but I was proud of how our girls responded to the rest of the week,” said Hiebert.

Against Moundridge in the next game Hillsboro fared better, but still lost, 43-42, after a back-and-forth game that included several lead changes.

Jessica Saunders led the Trojans with 12 points and 12 rebounds for the game. Teegan Werth chipped in 10 points, a rebound, and three assists as the only other Hillsboro player in double figures.

“We had a good day of preparation Wednesday and I felt like it showed on Thursday vs. Moundridge. We moved the ball better. We executed better, but we still came up short. I believe our youth showed through with how we finished the game. As coached, we knew that we needed to limit our fouls and we didn’t do that. We put Moundridge to the free throw line way too often and I believe that was the difference. They do a great job of being patient and getting a great shot or making you foul them,” said Hiebert. “Our girls did compete better that night. Teegan Werth and Jessica Saunders led the way with scoring (both in double figures). Mallory Ediger also was a huge spark off the bench with 3, 3’s. Jessica Saunders also brought down 12 boards for her first double-double of the season.”

In the seventh place game, Hillsboro faced off against Lyons and lost another close one, 37-34. Hillsboro led in the first quarter, 12-5, but Lyons chipped away the rest of the game and found their scoring in the fourth with 15 points to just six for Hillsboro, completing the comeback.

Kinsey Kleiner led Hillsboro with 12 points, four rebounds, and three steals. Addie Berens added eight points, six rebounds, and two steals for the game.

“On our Friday game against Lyons, we led most of the way. Our girls would do some great things, but then we would have way too many empty possessions and give them easy buckets from mental mistakes. Even though that I thought our girls competed well and continued to lead. But in the 4th quarter we once again had too many mental errors, lacked patience and couldn’t execute to the level that was needed to win. Kinsey Kleiner and Addie Berens led the way on Friday for our scoring.

The positive is that over the four games, we have had a variety of girls played well at times. We just need to find a way to put it all together, for four quarters, all at the same time,” Heibert said.

Coming- Hillsboro plays at Marion on Tuesday, December 11 and then again at home on Dec. 18 against SE of Saline.

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