Lady Trojans snag first at Moundridge
Hillsboro off to 3-0 start after holding off Lyons, 54-46
For the past four seasons, the Lady Trojans basketball team has been able to pride itself on solid play inside.
But Trojan coach Nathan Hiebert would be one of the first to tell you that size isn’t one advantage guard-oriented Hillsboro will have this year.
That, along with fatigue, was pivotal Friday night in the final game of the Moundridge Tournament with the Trojans facing the Lyons Lady Lions.
The Lions bulky post, Anna Nusser, was able to do as she pleased inside, but it wasn’t enough as Hillsboro fought off a late surge to hang on for a 54-46 win and the tournament title.
Afterward, Hiebert was quick to point out the Trojans flaws of getting bullied around inside, poor decisions, and impatience on offense and fatigue.
“I knew the teams we’re probably going to struggle with are the people who have good size inside,” he said. “We’re not exceptionally big, and we’re not exceptionally strong girls, we’ve got a lot of guards.
“I think Nusser’s probably the strongest post player we’ll see, she takes up a lot of space and is hard to get around.”
Nusser stung the Trojans for a game-high 22 points with 12 coming in the second half, along with dominating the backboards for Lyons.
But Hiebert couldn’t complain about Hillsboro being off to a 3-0 start, topping Moundridge Thursday, 49-33, and Garden Plain Tuesday, 47-39.
“That’s an excellent start, it’s definitely going to pay some dividends,” said Hiebert. “Thinking about some of the previous early season tournaments we’ve started slow, that hurts.
“Starting this way hopefully will pay off in a better manner than starting slow.”
Friday’s game started slow with the Trojans jumping out to a 16-7 lead after the first quarter.
A questionable call allowed Lyons to make it a game at halftime with Megan Schottler getting fouled on a last second shot from half court.
With no time left in the first half, Schottler drained all three free throws to pull the Lions to 28-23 at the break.
The Trojans opened the second half with a 7-0 run, pushing their lead to 35-23 on a 3 from Steph Sanders just over 2 minutes, 30 seconds into the game.
Lyons closed the gap to 7 before baskets from freshman Addie Lackey and a pair of free throws from Allie Faul stretched the deficit back to double digits heading into the final stretch, 41-29.
Lackey scored a team-high 13 points while Tena Loewen chipped in 12.
Hillsboro widened the margin as far as 15 twice — 49-34 — in the first 3:38 of the fourth quarter before seeming to run out of gas.
With both posts Elise and Emma Heyen out of action due to sickness, Lyons took it to Hillsboro inside.
The Lions started to take control rebounding, while hassling the Trojans into steering away from good shots and holding them scoreless for nearly 4:00.
Nusser took over the game, too, scoring the final 10 points while helping Lyons get to within 49-42 with 2:17 left in the game.
The Trojans slammed the door at the free-throw line the final 1:31, with Loewen and Lackey combining to hit 5-for-8.
“That was more us,” said Hiebert of Lyons climbing back into the game. “I was not pleased, we relaxed too often and I thought we made some poor decisions and that tonight we looked a lot younger and inexperienced than we have in the past.
“We’ve got to be more disciplined in getting what we want.”
The Trojans face a tough pair of games this week. Hillsboro closes out the week Friday, traveling to Sterling to take on the Lady Black Bears in a 6 p.m. tipoff.
Last modified Dec. 16, 2010