Second quarter helps Hillsboro stays unbeaten, routing Lady Black Bears 54-34
The chance to stay unbeaten was on the line Friday night in Sterling with the Lady Trojans facing the Lady Black Bears.
With both teams at 5-0, one team would suffer its first loss of the season.
The Trojans had the advantage of earning their record in contests with tougher competition while Sterling’s flawless record has come at the expense of teams from smaller schools.
Despite a miserable first quarter in which Hillsboro managed a chilling 3-for-15 from the floor, the Trojans were able to get a 15-0 run in the second quarter to hand Sterling a 54-34 loss.
“I thought we were doing some good things in the first quarter,” Trojan coach Nathan Hiebert said. “We were shooting a lot more outside shots and we weren’t as aggressive to the basket.
“The second quarter, we didn’t just settle for an outside shot, we got inside first then outside, we got a lot more layups and were getting better opportunities. That opened up things.”
The Trojans have faced their share of strong players in the post and Friday was no different with the Black Bears’ 6-foot-2 Anna Proffitt.
Thanks to a tenacious Hillsboro defense, the most noise Proffitt made came in the first quarter as she scored 5 points to help Sterling to a 9-8 lead.
Hillsboro had a slew of offensive rebounds, but couldn’t seem to get anything to fall, going scoreless the final 4 minutes, 50 seconds of the opening frame.
The drought hit Sterling harder the second quarter as they went well over five minutes without a basket, playing itself out of the game.
Sophomore Tena Loewen had a career-making night, burning the Black Bears for a game-high 21 points — 8 during the 15-0 run. Krista Reimer added 4.
What was once a 9-8 game turned into a 23-9 lead for Hillsboro by the time Dani Dowell was able to end the lapse with just less than three minutes remaining in the first half.
The Trojans held Sterling to a woeful 6-for-20 shooting in the first half and a cold 15-of-47 overall.
Hillsboro was able to get the ball inside for easy baskets and better shots outside to hit a blistering 10-of-13 in the second quarter and 22-for-43 on the night.
Loewen’s final 4 of 12 first-half points gave the Trojans a 30-13 edge at the break.
“I know they (the Black Bears) were up on us at one point, but you could tell they were getting tired and getting worn out,” Hiebert said. “They were rushing their shots; they were shooting short. We’d get a rebound and an easy bucket back because they didn’t transition well.”
Sterling had no answer for Loewen — they surrendered 6 points in the third quarter. Courtney Weber gave Hillsboro a 39-18 lead heading into the final stretch, sinking 1-of-2 free throws.
With the air long gone from the Black Bears’ balloon, Hiebert was able to utilize his entire bench with Amy Bartel giving the Trojans their biggest lead of the game at 51-24 with 2:24 remaining.
“They’re a nice team,” Hiebert said of the Black Bears. “They’re much improved. They’re a better team than last year and they have some girls who can play.
“We’re getting some girls some experience not just end-of-game minutes; even those last girls were playing against their (Sterling’s) starting group.
“It’s good for them to see the quickness, the intensity, and the strength. I was proud of the girls.”