Trojan girls advance to substate semifinals
The Hillsboro girls’ basketball team struggled to a two-point halftime lead in the substate quarterfinals Monday at Little River before taking off in the second half and heading home with a 20-point victory.
Pressure defense was the key for the Trojans. Coach Nathan Hiebert said he saw Little River had trouble coping with ball pressure while scouting them for the game, so he set his defense to exploit that.
Using a full-court press for much of the first half, the Trojans forced plenty of turnovers. However, the pressure defense also got Hillsboro in foul trouble, with Addie Lackey and Alex Ratzlaff each picking up three fouls before halftime.
The Redskins got out to a 10-4 lead in the first quarter. Hillsboro took an 11-10 lead early in the second quarter on a corner three-pointer by Lackey. The rest of the quarter was back-and-forth, and the Trojans led 18-16 at halftime.
Hillsboro ran away from the Redskins in the second half, grabbing steals and making layups in transition.
“We started doing what we’ve talked about the last three days,” Hiebert said.
He switched to using more zone defense in the second half, but still pressuring Little River’s guards. The Trojans made four layups on fast breaks in the third quarter alone, and they led 34-21 at the end of the quarter.
Hillsboro continued to pour it on in the fourth quarter, winning 48-28.
Danae Bina scored 16 points, 10 of them on fast-break opportunities. She also was credited with seven steals and six assists. Hiebert said Bina did a good job keeping her composure during a frustrating first half.
Ratzlaff scored 15 points; Lackey, 12; Tara Proffitt, 3; and Maddi Duerksen, 2. The Trojans will play against No. 1 seed Sterling at 6 p.m. Thursday at Berean Academy in the substate semifinals. The Trojans split the season series with the Black Bears. Sterling won in Hillsboro and Hillsboro won in Sterling.
If the Trojans win in the semifinals, they will play at 6 p.m. Saturday in the championship game.