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Lady Trojans rally to top Nickerson

Kaufman scores 23 as Hillsboro sinks Lady Panthers, 46-37

Any combination Lady Trojan basketball coach Nathan Hiebert put on the floor Friday night the visiting Nickerson Lady Panthers stymied, while using a big second and third quarter to take a 31-21 lead.

Hiebert finally got his answer in the fourth quarter in the shape of his starting five as Hillsboro pieced together a 25-6 run to claw out a 46-37 win.

The win boosts Hillsboro to 13-4 on the year and keeps them flawless in league play at 8-0.

Dakota Kaufman lit the Panthers up for a game-high 23 points.

But the Trojans’ comeback wouldn’t have been possible without Tena Loewen.

Loewen finished with only 7 points, but her effort on hustling for the loose balls and harassing defense fueled the fire.

The Panthers gave Hillsboro a 9-point head start with five of their 23 turnovers.

Much to the chagrin of Hiebert, the Trojans gave up an 8-2 run and Nickerson took its first lead, 14-13.

Brandy Mader scored a team-high 16 points and her basket with just under a minute left in the first half pushed the Panther lead to 16-13.

The Trojans went nearly 3 minutes without a basket until Franny Gottsch made it a 16-15 game at the break with Hillsboro shooting 33 percent from the field.

But the worst was yet to come. Hillsboro missed all nine field goal attempts in the third quarter, while Nickerson made 7-for-12 to build its lead as large as 31-19.

Gottsch’s four free throws in the final 1:08 helped the Trojans close the gap to 31-21.

Sensing their hopes at a possible MCAA title fading, Hillsboro’s alarm clock finally went off in the fourth quarter.

Loewen scored on a fast break, sparking a 22-0 run.

Allie Faul’s fast break with just under 6 minutes left in the game gave the Trojans their first lead since the midway, 33-32.

By the time Nickerson could muster its first basket of the fourth quarter, Hillsboro’s 20-point turnaround had the Panthers buried under a 41-32 landslide. As if nine fourth-quarter turnovers for the Panthers wasn’t enough, Kaufman dumped 8 more points on them, too.

“It was one of those things where all of a sudden they (Trojans) caught them off guard,” Hiebert said.

The Trojans face a pivotal game Thursday night in the battle for Marion County against the hosting Marion Lady Warriors.

Thursday’s game is set for 6 p.m.

Last modified Feb. 17, 2010

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