Hillsboro gets big second half for 54-35 win
Lady Trojan basketball coach Nathan Hiebert was quick to take the blame for Friday night’s slow start against the visiting Kingman Lady Eagles.
For the first quarter, Kingman was able to exploit a chink in the Trojan armor — back-screen coverage. That, combined with Hillsboro’s lack of communication and inability to get to the ball, helped the road-weary Eagles maintain a first-quarter lead.
Against a team like the Trojans, eight minutes isn’t nearly long enough as Hillsboro took off in the third quarter to race to a 54-35 win over Kingman.
With the victory, the Trojans’ regular season finale at Haven Tuesday had league title implications but they came up short, losing to Haven.
“We had a slow start (in Friday’s game). We got beat on their back-screen early. That was my fault,” Hiebert said. “I haven’t prepared them for that very well.
Luckily for the Trojans, the Eagles were a team they could start slow against with Kingman playing their third road game of the week after facing Hesston and Sterling.
But it was Hillsboro who looked road weary, as the Trojans surrendered a 6-0 run in the opening three minutes.
Friday marked the final regular season home game for the Trojan senior quartet of Becky Faber, Allie Faul, and Elise and Emma Heyen.
A pair of free throws by Faul finally got the Trojans on the board nearly 3 minutes and 30 seconds into the contest.
Tena Loewen scored a team-high 18 points and nearly picked up a double-double, pulling down a team-high 9 rebounds.
Loewen’s basket with just under 3:30 left in the opening quarter marked the Trojans only field goal in the first eight minutes.
One of two free throws by Loewen with five seconds remaining pulled Hillsboro to within 8-7 to start the second quarter.
A 3-point play by Loewen with 6:35 to go in the first half gave Hillsboro its first lead at 10-8. Callie Serene’s 3 broke a 10-10 tie nearly two minutes later.
The Trojans never let go of the lead again and Faul’s basket right before the break sent Hillsboro into the half up 19-12.
Faul wrapped up her final regular season home game, chipping in 12 points and picking up 4 swipes.
Hillsboro pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring the Eagles to inflate the margin to 28-17 by the 4:59 mark.
The Trojans were on fire for the second half, shooting a burning 65 percent from the field.
Courtney Weber capped the Trojans near-flawless 9-for-10 shooting in the third quarter, giving the Trojans a commanding 41-22 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Seven of Loewen’s 18 points came in the fourth quarter and Hillsboro’s lead grew to as much as 52-30 before it was over.
Hillsboro also dominated the boards, 26-18, for a 17-0 edge in second-chance points.
“We got some steals and we were up in the passing lanes a little more,” Hiebert said of the third quarter eruption. “I think our pressure wore them down.”