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Lady Trojans thrash struggling Sterling

Sports writer

Maybe it’s a safe bet to say the Hillsboro High School girls’ basketball team is finally peaking at the right time of the season.

It’s not likely the Sterling Lady Black Bears would have any argument.

The Trojans (8-6, 3-3 MCAA) stayed hot Friday night, using a 14-4 first quarter to take down the visiting Black Bears, 53-41, for their third consecutive victory.

“We were a little sluggish in the first minute or two, then we got a nice little run early from pressuring them,” said Trojan coach Nathan Hiebert. “They don’t handle pressure well. They’ve struggled against that all year. I told the girls I was proud because we got more than one girl involved.”

Dakota Kaufman scored a game-high 16 points while Allie Faul and Tiffany Rooker added 10 each to lead a balanced scoring onslaught.

The Black Bears’ car never got out of the garage with the Trojan trio of Rooker, Cassie Kroeker, and Faul joining forces to hit Sterling with a 13-1 run.

Faul scored seven straight points in just more than 30 seconds, cashing in on a pair of steals.

Sterling made a push in the second quarter, outscoring the Trojans, 13-11, but it never jeopardized the Trojans’ 25-17 lead at halftime.

Any chance of the Black Bears staying close disintegrated in the opening minutes of the third quarter with the Trojans using a 9-2 run to go up, 34-19.

The Trojans’ defense held Sterling scoreless for nearly half a quarter, forcing six turnovers, while Kaufman supplied seven of her 16 points in the third quarter.

The best break the Black Bears could catch came from Hillsboro shooting a miserable 10-of-24 at the free-throw line.

The Black Bears were able to whittle the lead down to 37-28 in the opening two minutes of the fourth quarter, but Kaufman scored off a steal to ignite an 8-2 run.

Franny Gottsch’s basket with just less than two minutes left in the game gave Hillsboro its largest lead of the night, 51-32, as the Trojans hit 6-of-8 from the floor in the fourth quarter and 11-of-20 the second half.

The Trojans’ pressure defense caused the Black Bears to panic offensively, harassing Sterling into shooting 8-of-29 in the second half.

“We’ve got to get better rebounding,” Hiebert said. “I feel like we’ve got to if we’re going to be successful at the end of the season. In the postseason if we don’t rebound, we’re going to pay.

“I’ve been real pleased since that Marion game, the girls are a little bit better confidence-wise and they’re playing well.”

The Trojans faced a tough test Tuesday night hosting upstart Haven. Results were not available at press time.

Hillsboro wraps up the week Friday with a trip to Nickerson for a tip-off around 6 p.m.

Last modified Feb. 11, 2009

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