Defensive intensity is the key, according to Hills?boro coach Nathan Hiebert.
?The sluggishness we had against Halstead and Lyons was just that we lacked intensity,? he said. ?We weren?t getting after it?we?re not getting tips, we?re not getting steals, we?re not getting easy buckets.
?If we?re not getting easy buckets, all of a sudden our regular offense hurts and we don?t function as well.?
That?s how Friday?s game began. The Trojans missed six of their first seven shots and forced one Marion turn?over. When the Warriors? Katey Ehrlich hit back-to-back baskets midway through the opening quarter, Marion led 4-2.
?I told (the team) that when we go through the motions, we?re a mediocre team,? Hiebert said. ?We?ve got great players and we can usually beat mediocre teams going through the motions?but there?s a difference there.?
A basket in the lane by Alex Ratzlaff seemed to flip the switch for Hillsboro. Addie Lackey scored off a steal 16 seconds later, fueling a defensive surge that contributed to six more Marion turnovers and a 10-0 Trojan scoring run.
By the end of the quarter, Hillsboro led 16-6.
?Some of the girls were quite frustrated by the physical nature of this game,? said Marion coach Kelly Robson. ?Our sophomores in particular just aren?t used to that yet.?
The Trojans kept up the pressure during the second quarter, contributing to eight more Warrior turn?overs and a 36-13 lead by intermission. By halftime, three Trojans were in double digits: Lackey with 13 points, Danae Bina with 11 and Ratzlaff with 10.
When Hillsboro started the third quarter with a 9-0 run, the lead stood at 45-13. Marion countered with six straight points close the gap to 46-19 at the final break.
When Bina scored in the paint with 6:51 left in the game, Hillsboro hit the 30-point spread that kicked in the running clock the rest of the game.
Lackey finished with 18 points, Ratzlaff added 17 and Bina 14 to pace the Trojans, who shot just under 49 percent from the field (22-45) by the end of the game.
Ehrlich, meanwhile, tossed in 18 to lead Marion and tie Lackey for game-high scoring honors. The Warriors shot just under 32 percent (12-38) from the field and finished with 30 turn?overs.
?I was pleased with Katey?s scoring,? Robson said. ?She had a good shooting night from the outside. Unfortunately, we didn?t get enough from the others like we oftentimes do.
?But you?ve got to give Hillsboro credit for having some really good defenders.?
Robson said he looked to this game to provide some sort of barometer on just how much his team has improved since last season.
?A lot of people have looked at our team this year and said, ?Wow, you?re playing much better defense,? and ?Wow, your girls are playing better together? and so on, and so I wanted to use this kind of as a measurement of that.
?Unfortunately, it didn?t measure quite the way I was hoping it would. We weren?t kidding ourselves about winning the game, but we had turnovers, especially in the first half that were just things we haven?t done all year.?
For Hiebert, the game was about seeing his team rediscover the joy of playing.
?It seemed before break, we were just playing and it wasn?t much fun,? he said. ?We talked about some of those games where we were winning, but we came back to the locker room and it seemed like we lost. It seemed like it was a depressing place.
?Tonight was much better,? he said. ?The intensity level allowed us to play to our capabilities, do our best and have fun with it.?
Coming?Hillsboro was to take its 6-0 record to Smoky Valley (0-5) on Tuesday, then make the long trip Friday to Pratt (3-1).
Marion (3-3) was scheduled to host Moundridge (4-1), then travel to Bennington (3-2) on Friday.
?After these first two games, Hillsboro and Moundridge, we feel like we get into some schedule where we?re certainly not guaranteed to win games, but we feel like we can compete with the teams that we?re going to have,? coach Kelly Robson said.
?I think we?ve got to get past these two games with hopefully some confidence intact, and then we?ll get back to the way we were playing before. I really believe we will.?
Janae Rempel contributed to this article.
Hillsboro 55, Marion 29
Jan. 3 at Brown Gymnasium
Marion (3-3) 6 7 6 10?29
Hillsboro (6-0) 16 20 10 9?55
MARION: K. Ehrlich 18, K. Hansen 2, J. Hall 2, K. Hess 2, M. Richmond 3, K. Thierolf 2. Totals: 12-38 (3-9) 2-6 29.
HILLSBORO: A. Lackey 18, A. Ratzlaff 17, D. Bina 14, D. Heinrichs 2, T. Proffitt 2, M. Duerk??sen 2. Totals: 22-45 (3-12) 8-11 55.
Rebounds: Marion 28 (Ehrlich 3, M. Mermis 2, B. Robson 4, Hall 2, Hess 4, Richmond 8, Thierolf, K. Herzet, Team 3), Hillsboro 20 (C. Troyer 2, Lackey 6, Ratzlaff 2, C. Linnens 2, Weber 3, Bina 2, Hein?richs, Team 2). Assists: Marion 8 (Ehrlich, Hansen 3, Mermis, Hess 3, Hills?boro 9 (Lackey 5, Ratzlaff 2, Bina 2). Steals: Marion 8 (Hansen 3, Mermis, Robson 2, Richmond 2), Hillsboro 21 (Lackey 4, Ratzlaff 6, Bina 6, Heinrichs, Proffitt, M. Franz, Duerksen 2). Turn?overs: Marion 30 (Ehrlich 7, Hansen 5, Robson 6, Hall, Hess 3, Richmond 2, Thierolf 5, Herzet), Hillsboro 13 (Troyer, Lackey 4, Ratzlaff, Linnens, B. Wiens, Hein?richs, Proffitt 2, R. Kaufman, Duerksen). Fouls: Marion 10, Hillsboro 11. Fouled out: None.
Marion 14 7 13 8?42
Hillsboro (2-4) 2 7 4 9?22
MHS: Remmers 7, Mermis 5, Hess 8, Robson 2, Jacobson 2, Herzet 12, Hess 4, Meyer 2. Totals: 17 (1) 7-12 42.
HHS: S. Unruh 4, R, Kaufman 5, T. Proffitt 6, B. Wiens 5, M. Merrell 2. Totals: 7 (1) 7-15 22.
C team girls
Marion – – 0 5?5
Hillsboro – – 5 16?21
MHS: Crawford 2, Waner 2, Hess 1. Totals: 2 (0) 1-7 5.
HHS: S. Unruh 5, R, Kaufman 2, B. Wiens 7, C. Linnens 2, B. Schale 3, M. Merrell 2. Totals: 7 (2) 5-11 21.