With Hillsboro managing only two baskets in 10 attempts and Sterling managing only four shots, thanks to seven turnovers, HHS led 16-11 after a low-scoring second period.
But Hillsboro stepped up its game after halftime. A pair of baskets by Luthi in the first 41 seconds of the third quarter ignited the decisive surge. Kauf?man ended the quarter with a pair of baskets in the final 30 seconds to push the lead to 33-15.
?The first half we were able to frustrate them a little bit, but in the third quarter is when I definitely started seeing it,? coach Nathan Hiebert said of his team?s effective pressure defense.
Hillsboro made 11 of 17 shots during the quarter and limited Sterling to two baskets in five attempts and forced 10 turnovers.
?It helps when you force some turnovers and get some easy buckets on the other end,? Hiebert said. ?When shots go in it?s a lot easier to play defense.?
The Trojans twice bumped the margin to 20 points early in the final period, and then again with 2:10 left in the game (42-22) to coast to the victory.
Kaufman led the Trojans with 14 and Luthi finished with 10 as the team improved to 3-2 at the holiday break. For the game, Hillsboro shot 15-for-35 (43 percent) from the floor and made 10 of 15 free throws.
?We may have had less than a handful of shots where I would have said maybe we should have been more patient,? Hiebert said. ?Overall, we did a much better, both offensively and defensively, in executing what we wanted to do.?
Sterling made 11 of 28 shots (39 percent) and three of 12 free throws. HHS forced 24 turnovers but committed 22.
Hiebert said Abi Humber, a senior starter, suffered a bone bruise in her knee during the previous game against Winfield. She may miss Hillsboro?s first game when play resumes next month, but should return to action.