It looked like the Hillsboro High School girls basketball team was going to be in a battle.
The score after one quarter with Sterling on Friday at Sterling was 10-6 in favor of Hillsboro. Black Bear forward Dani Dowell scored 4 points herself on midrange jumpers.
The tables turned in the second quarter. The Trojans unlocked Sterlings press by passing the ball to the middle of the floor and sending cutters up either wing.
With the wide-open style of play, Tena Loewen made her presence felt. She dribbled past defenders to break multiple presses and then bullied her way to the rim for a layup or two-shot foul. Loewen drove relentlessly through the lane in the second quarter. She scored 12 points in the first half.
Loewen’s penetration opened up shooting windows for Hillsboro’s perimeter players. Callie Serene nailed two 3-pointers. Stephanie Sanders and Addie Lackey also hit long distance shots in the second.
“I took advantage of it when it was there,” Loewen said. “It’s definitely key when the outside girls are hitting.”
On the other end of the floor, Loewen continually hassled Dowell who would not score again until the first minute of the third quarter; Dowell had 6 points total. It was part of defensive effort that held Sterling to consecutive 6-point quarters. Even with their starters on the bench, the Trojans did not relent a double-digit quarter; Sterling scored nine in the fourth.
A 10-6 lead ballooned into a 31-12 lead by the end of the second quarter. It then grew to 50-20 at the third quarter bell before finally settling at 54-29.
“We did a nice job of getting a stop and then scoring,” head coach Nathan Hiebert said. “It’s fuel to the fire.”
With wing players hitting shots, Loewen had more room to rebound. In three consecutive possessions in the third quarter, she grabbed offensive boards and converted points. She ended the game with a team high 20 points and seven rebounds.
Lackey was the second leading scorer for the Trojans with 16, she also had the most assists for the team with three.
“We did a good job of working the ball around,” Loewen said. “The team chemistry is really coming together.”