The Hillsboro girls capped a full but impressive week with a 54-34 win at Sterling Friday.
It was the third victory over four days with at least a 20-point margin as the Trojans improved to 11-4 for the season and remained tied for first with Collegiate at 6-0 in league play.
?We?re going to see maybe some higher quality (teams) coming up, but the thing I?m excited about is that we won three games in a week?which is big,? coach Nathan Hiebert said. ?It?s good to see the girls mentally tough enough to fight through three games.?
Hillsboro got off to a blistering start in this one, putting up a 13-0 lead before the Black Bears finally scored with 1:49 left in the opening period. At the buzzer, Hillsboro was up 17-5, with Dakota Kaufman contributing seven points to the lead.
Candace Weinbrenner and Tena Loewen made back-to-back baskets to start the second quarter, pushing the lead to 21-5. But the Trojans suddenly shut down, committing four turnovers and missing eight straight field-goal attempts and two free throws before Kaufman scored with 37 seconds left in the half.
Even with the drought, HHS led at intermission, 23-15.
Hillsboro was back on track as the third quarter started, launching an 8-2 run through the first four minutes. By the end of the period, the lead stood at 37-25.
Kaufman was all but unstoppable at the start of the fourth quarter, scoring seven unanswered points, including two coast-to-coast layups after pulling down a rebound on the defensive end. Tena Loewen chipped in four points and Allie Faul two points before Sterling called a timeout with 3:15 to play and Hillsboro enjoying its biggest lead of the night at 51-31.
Coach Nathan Hiebert then cleared his bench for the final minutes.
Kaufman fueled Hillsboro?s attack once again with 21 points, but got strong support from Loewen, who tossed in a career-best 16 points in her freshman season.
As a team, the Trojans made better than half their shots (23-45) while holding the home team to 27 percent success (11-41).
Sterling, led by Janel Prather with 10 points, dropped to 4-11 for the season and 1-5 in league play.
Hoisington?The Trojans put together perhaps their best wire-to-wire performance of the season with a 55-33 win against Hoisington in a home game Thursday that was twice postponed because of weather.
The win kept the Trojans undefeated in league play at 5-0 and gave them double-digit victories for the season at 10-4. Hoi?sing?ton dropped to 1-4 and 8-6.
The Cardinals (8-6 overall, 1-4 in the league) actually posted an early 5-2 lead, but a pair of free throws by Dakota Kaufman with 5:07 left ignited an 11-7 surge that propelled the Trojans into a 13-12 advantage at the first break.
Hoisington scored the first basket of the second quarter, but Hillsboro took the lead for good on a basket by Candace Wein?brenner at the 5:16 mark. That shot lit a 14-0 run and a 16-2 finish to the quarter that put Hillsboro ahead 29-16 at halftime.
?Most of their points in the first quarter and the start of the second quarter came off of offensive rebounds,? coach Nathan Hiebert said about his team?s relatively slow start.
?When I walked in (to the locker room), the girls had already written up on the board ?Box out.??They already knew what I was going to be talking about. I was very, very proud with how our girls responded.?
The Trojans? aggressiveness at both ends of the court only increased in the second half. Hoisington didn?t score until Reba Hickel?s basket with 3:01 left in the quarter. The period ended with Hillsboro comfortably in control at 38-19.
Even so, the Trojans saved their best offensive quarter for last, pushing the lead to 53-25 before Hiebert pulled his starters with 3:13 to play.
The fuel that powered the Trojan victory was turnovers. The defense forced 28 while the offense committed only 10, resulting in a 25-6 scoring differential.
Dakota Kaufman scored a game-high 17 to pace the Trojans on what might be considered, for her, an off shooting night (7-for-16). But 12 points from Wein?bren?ner was a major boost in fire power.
Lyons?Hillsboro used an explosive start to separate itself from Lyons early, then played just well enough to hold them at bay en route to a 51-29 victory.
Trojans led 13-0 before Lyons finally got on the board with a pair of free throws with 1:36 left in the first quarter. By the break, the lead stood at 17-2 with HHS forcing Lyons into 11 turnovers and 0-for-4 shooting.
But rather than extend the lead, the Trojans and Lions played to a near standoff until the final four minutes of the game. In fact, Lyons crept to within 37-27 with 1:05 left in the third period after Hillsboro led 29-13 at halftime.
In the fourth quarter, Lyons turned the ball over six times on its first seven possessions. But HHS managed only one point through the first 4:06. When Becky Faber nailed a 15-footer at that mark, Hillsboro went on a 7-0 run over the next 1:35 to put the game away.
?I just didn?t think our intensity was strong,? Hiebert said. ?In spurts we?d show up, then we?d be really bad. I thought we let some of the calls dictate our attitudes. ?
Dakota Kaufman powered Hillsboro?s offense with 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting. She received good support from Franny Gottsch with 11 points and Tena Loewen with 10. Bailey Ashton scored nine points to lead Lyons.
Coming?The Trojans were scheduled to play at Haven (8-7, 3-3) Tuesday, then will play host to Nickerson (9-6, 5-1) in a big game Friday. The Trojans defeated the Panthers 43-28 in December.