One game was a blowout, the other a squeaker, but the Hillsboro girls and boys chalked up wins against Nickerson on Tuesday.
The Trojans girls had the easiest win, 49-33, but it didn’t start out that way. Hillsboro had trouble finding the basket, while Nickerson connected on four 3-pointers to lead 14-8 at the end of the first quarter. The Trojans came back to tie the game at 20 at halftime.
“We had a sluggish first half,” coach Nathan Hiebert said. “Things warmed up in the third quarter.”
It was the defense that turned up the heat, allowing Nickerson just 5 shots, of which only one connected. Meanwhile, Hillsboro made 5 shots, including a 3-pointer, and hit three free throws to take a 34-22 lead into the final quarter.
“We put more pressure on with our defense and forced more turnovers,” Hiebert said.
Nickerson regrouped in the fourth quarter, but the Trojans outscored them 15-11, and won by 16 points.
Alex Ratzlaff led the Trojans in scoring with 21 points, and Abby Sechrist scored 10.
The Hillsboro boys’ squad also had to come from behind, and then hold on, for its 58-56 win.
Trailing 28-20 at halftime, the Trojans unleashed a 23-point barrage in the third quarter. Micah Allen led the charge, as Hillsboro scored a dozen points on 3-pointers and went 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. Nickerson couldn’t find the basket in the third, shooting just 13 percent from the field. Hillsboro led 43-36 going into the fourth.
The Trojans needed all of that 7-point lead, as the Panthers turned in their best offensive quarter of the game. However, Hillsboro didn’t cool off, and Nickerson’s 20 points came up two short, with the Trojans claiming the 58-56 win.
Allen scored 21 points to pace the Trojans.
The teams will host Pratt on Friday at Brown Gymnasium.