Tena Loewen poured in 21 points to lead the Hillsboro Trojans to an impressive 54-34 win at Sterling Friday in a battle of unbeaten teams. The Hillsboro boys, meanwhile, battled a physically bigger and stronger team once again, only to come up on the short end of a 48-41 score against the Black Bear boys, who also came into the evening with an undefeated record.
GIRLS? GAME — It appeared Hillsboro might have its hands full with Sterling?s 6 foot, 2 inch senior, Anna Proffitt, who scored five points to help her team to a 9-8 lead after one quarter as Hillsboro made only three of 15 shots from the floor.
But the game turned in the second quarter when the Trojans exploded for a 22-4 surge with Tena Loewen providing eight points and Krista Reimer four. Meanwhile, the Hillsboro defense shut out the Black Bears for the first five minutes before Dani Dowell broke the drought with a bucket in the lane.
With Hillsboro leading 30-13 at intermission, Loewen added six more points in the third period to help HHS push the margin to 21 points by the end of the third quarter, 39-28. The Trojans led by as much as 27 points, 51-24, when Amy Bartel scored with 2:21 left in the contest.
Loewen?s 21 points easily was her most productive game of the season after a previous high of 12. As a team, the Trojans shot 51 percent from the field (22-43) while their tenacious defense limited the Black Bears to under 33 percent (15-46).
With the win, the Trojans improved to 5-0 and will close out the pre-holiday schedule with a game at Marion on Tuesday.
BOYS? GAME — Clearly outsized by the home team, Hillsboro still managed to stay in contention with the Black Bears in what became a hard-fought, physical battle.
Sterling?s 6-4 post Austin Maxwell looked like he might dominate the Trojans when he scored the first two baskets of the game almost at will. But Ben Bebermeyer struck back with a three-pointer for HHS to set the competitive tone for the game. Maxwell scored again later in the period to help Sterling to an 11-8 lead after the first period.
The second quarter followed a similar exchange of blows, and it took a steal and a bucket by Evan Ollenburger in the final seconds to pull HHS back to within four points at intermission, 22-18. Seven different Trojans contributed points in the low-scoring contest.
Maxwell started the third period like he did the first, with two dominating baskets. But again HHS refused to wilt. Back-to-back threes by Brett Weinbrenner and Bebermeyer midway through the period brought the Trojans to within a bucket at 30-28. Unfortunately, the Trojans turned the ball over three times and made only one of their next five shots through the end of the quarter and trailed 36-31 at the final break.
The turnovers (four) and tough shooting (0-6) continued through the first five minutes of the final period. When Bebermeyer finally scored Hillsboro?s first basket of the period, HHS trailed, 41-34. The Trojans got to within one possession when Luke Moore hit a 5-footer with 30 seconds to play. But Sterling?s Seth Humphreys and Maxwell combined for four straight free-throws to seal the victory.
Bebermeyer led HHS with 14 points while Weinbrenner added 10. As a team, Hillsboro shot just under 36 percent from the floor (16-45) while Sterling made just under 41 percent (13-32). The Black Bears held a huge advantage at the free-throw line, going 19-for-28 compared to 4-for-5 for Hillsboro.
The win boosted Sterling?s record to 6-0 while Hillsboro dropped to 2-3. HHS will play Tuesday at Marion to finish the pre-holiday schedule.