Hillsboro girls survive battle of the Trojans; state-ranked boys drop first game
Winning ugly outdoes losing pretty, especially if a team is searching for ways to put together a solid game both offensively and defensively.
The Hillsboro Lady Trojans were still looking for that Thursday against the visiting Southeast of Saline Lady Trojans, who were searching for their first win.
Despite the continuing struggle finding consistent scorers, Hillsboro’s defense caused enough trouble to fight off SES, 27-24, to improve to 3-2 on the year.
“Defensively, I was really pleased” coach Nathan Hiebert said. “Southeast is desperate to get a win so they’re fighting. They were trying to speed us up and they did a great job of that.”
Hillsboro’s defense made the first quarter a nightmare for SES, forcing 5 turnovers in the opening 4 minutes, but 3-for-15 shooting led to just a 7-5 lead after one quarter.
A Savannah Unruh bucket gave Hillsboro its largest lead of the game, 13-7.
Field goals continued to be scarce for the Trojans, as they endured a brutal 1-for-10 drought in the third quarter and SES took a 17-16 lead with about 3:30 left in the third.
Paige Proffitt ended the lapse to put Hillsboro back in front, 18-17, heading into the fourth quarter.
Rebecca Kaufman scored a team-high 12 points, including a tie-breaking triple with just over 1:00 left in the game.
Sienna Kaufman chipped in 6, sealing the game with a pair of free throws with 4 seconds remaining.
“Tonight we started OK, but we really struggled,” Hiebert said. “We’re capable, but the girls have to believe it.”
In a marquee matchup between two unbeaten teams, Class 3A’s seventh-ranked SES, and 2A No. 9 Hillsboro, something had to give.
Unfortunately, it was Hillsboro squandering an 8-point lead late in the fourth quarter, allowing SES to rally for a 57-53 win.
“We had two or three turnovers that just totally changed the tide for us,” a disappointed Trojans coach Darrel Knoll said.
It took a while for the Trojans to get going, but despite shooting a frigid 1-for-9 the first quarter, Hillsboro only trailed 9-6.
Preston Loewen scored 12 points for the Trojans, briefly putting them in front 14-13 with 2:14 left in the half, but the visiting Trojans regained a 17-16 lead by half.
The Trojans got in gear the third quarter by shooting a blistering 60 percent from the floor, using a 14-7 run to regain the lead, 30-24.
Loewen’s basket with 5:19 left in the game gave Hillsboro its largest lead, 46-38, before the Trojans’ engine began sputtering.
SES used a 14-0 run to put the Trojans down for good, taking the lead with just over 2:30 left in the game, 48-46.
Hillsboro went without a field goal until Elias Werth scored in the waning seconds for the 57-53 final.