Kaufman leads Trojan girls to sixth straight victory

Dakota Kaufman poured in a season-high 28 points to fuel Hillsboro?s 50-31 conquest at Halstead Thursday.

The win was Hillsboro?s sixth-straight and kept the Trojans undefeated in league play at 3-0 while improving to 6-3 for the year.

?I?felt our energy was good on defense and it carried over on offense tonight,? coach Nathan Hiebert said.

It took the girls a couple of minutes to find their stride, but they kicked it in at about the 5:26 mark and pushed a tentative 2-0 margin to 13-2 with a minute left in the period. The quarter ended at 13-5, with Kaufman chipping in seven points.

Halstead started the second quarter with a 6-2 surge, but a basket by Kaufman at the 3:49 mark ignited an 11-0 run that pushed the lead to 26-11 with a minute left in the half. Callie Serene sank two 3-pointers from the corner to fuel the streak.

Leading 28-13 at the half, Hillsboro jump-started the second half with another 11-0 run, with Kaufman providing nine of the points. HHS led 39-13 before Jill Armendariz hit a 3-pointer for Halstead, cutting the gap to 39-16 after three quarters.

?We talk a lot about winning all four quarters,? Hiebert said. ?The girls came out (in the second half) with intensity like it was 0-0.?

Halstead closed the margin to 19 points at the end with success against the Trojan bench.

For the game, Hillsboro shot just under 63 percent (22-35) while holding the Dragons to 38 percent (14-37).

?I thought we had good contributions from everybody tonight,? Hiebert said. ?I thought everyone played their roles a lot better. Callie Serene is a shooter and she hit those (3-point) shots.

?Dakota was aggressive inside again. I?m getting excited with how she?s doing it. There are times when she?s kicking it out and relocating?she?s not just taking a shot whenever she touches it. That?s good stuff.?

Smoky Valley?Candace Weinbrenner poured in eight points in the final quarter to lift the Trojans to a 49-48 victory Tuesday over the Vikings at Brown Gymnasium.

?Her love is to get other people involved, and tonight she realized that they needed her to shoot a little bit more,? coach Nathan Hiebert said of his senior point guard, who came in averaging four points per game. ?She knocked down some big shots.?

The game featured contrasting halves. Both teams struggled for points in the first one. Hillsboro put up ample shots, but had trouble making them (7-23). At the other end, Smoky Valley made every shot it put up except one?but managed only seven attempts, thanks to 14 turnovers. Hillsboro led 19-16 at halftime.

The tone of the game changed with the start of the second half, as both teams began to score almost at will. Hillsboro found success away from the basket while the Vikings feasted off points in the paint.

At times the Trojans seemed helpless to stop Lori Dauer, Smoky?s solid 5-foot-11 post player, who finished with 26 points on 12-for-14 shooting.

?Dauer is a good player, she?s a big body and she?s hard to guard, but we started playing behind her too much and got into bad positions,? Hiebert said.

As the third quarter ended, Hillsboro still led by three, 36-33. When the Vikings took the lead with two baskets to start the final period, the teams began trading points until the end.

Smoky was leading 48-47 with 51 seconds left when Wein?brenner stepped up with her fourth basket of the quarter, putting Hillsboro ahead for good, 49-48. Both teams missed opportunities to score down the home stretch?HHS missed two one-and-one opportunities in the final 25 seconds.

Despite a below-normal night (5-for-12 from the floor), Dakota Kaufman led HHS with 14 points and a meager three rebounds.

The game was odd, statistically. The losing team shot significantly better from the floor (Smoky 67 percent, HHS 44) and dominated the boards (Smoky 31 rebounds, HHS 10).

The decisive statistic was turnovers: Smoky committed 25, HHS 6. The Trojans parlayed that into a 27-9 advantage in points.

?I?m not especially pleased with how we played,? Heibert said. ?But when you can win close games, you start figuring out how to do it.?

Coming?Hillsboro was scheduled to open play Tuesday in the Trojan Classic. If the fifth-seeded Trojans defeated No. 4 Sunrise Academy, they will play in the semifinals at 8:15 p.m. Thursday. If they lost, they will play at 4:45 p.m. Friday.

Same-night results, as well as upcoming pairings, will be posted on the Free Press Web site (hillsborofreepress.com) and the Free Line (947-3363).

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