New look Trojan girls struggle in opener

<p>Trojan senior Sienna Kaufman is fouled as she drives the lane during the first half of Friday’s game at Sterling. Kaufman led the team with 11 points. Don Ratzlaff / Free Press
<p>Trojan senior Sienna Kaufman is fouled as she drives the lane during the first half of Friday’s game at Sterling. Kaufman led the team with 11 points. Don Ratzlaff / Free Press
The Hillsboro girls battled a talented and veteran Sterling team with a rotation comprised of a few upperclassmen mixed with a half-dozen or so freshmen and sophomores.

Hillsboro signaled a changing of the guard, but the Trojans’ 57-25 loss signaled that the transition to success will be challenging in this initial season.

“I’m not thinking four years, I’m thinking this year,” coach Nathan Hiebert said about his timeline for developing a winning team.

Hiebert acknowledged Ster­ling’s dominating performance, particularly on the boards.

“I felt Sterling outworked us and executed better than us,” he said. “They out­rebounded us by a lot. If it’s not drastically different, I’d be greatly surprised.”

Sterling established an 8-2 lead two minutes into the contest, and pushed it to 19-9 by the end of the first quarter. Junior Trinity Malm contributed four points and senior Sienna Kaufman nailed a three-pointer to fuel the Trojan offense.

With the Trojans shooting 1-for-7 from the field and 2-for-7 from the free-throw line in the second quarter, Sterling was able to inflate its lead to 36-13 by halftime.

Malm scored the first basket of the third quarter, but the Trojans committed 10 turnovers in their next 11 possessions.

When freshmen Kinsley Kleiner and Dani Klein each scored a basket in the final 42 seconds of the period, the home team was leading, 51-19.

Exceeding a 30-point margin, the running clock kicked in for the entire fourth quarter. Even so, the Trojans played Sterling to a 6-6 standoff for the final 57-25 score.

Kaufman led the Trojans with 11 points and Malm added eight. As a team, the Trojans shot 41 percent (11-27) from the floor and made two of 11 free throws.

“Trinity Malm got several shots inside, she rebounded well,” Hiebert said. “Inside, she got several shots because she was aggressive. She brings some toughness to her game.”

Hillsboro’s underclassmen managed eight points, with no one player scoring more than two.

“The young girls, I think they got their eyes opened,” Hiebert said. “This needs to happen at some point, and I’m glad we got our eyes opened right now rather than going through the motions and thinking we’re OK.”

Taya Wilson led the Black Bears with 19 points. Ster­ling shot 53 percent from the field.

Coming—The Trojans are participating this week at the Moundridge Pre-Season Tournament. They opened play Tuesday against the host team.

The Trojans will play Lyons on Thursday and Inman on Friday with a 4 p.m. tipoff for both games.