The Hillsboro girls’ basketball team got off to a roaring start to the season Friday, scoring a 53-34 victory over Nickerson.
Balance and poise characterized the Trojans’ play for most of the game, after escaping a series of first-quarter turnovers that might have undone last year’s team.
Nickerson would creep close, then Hillsboro would respond, until the lead became insurmountable.
While senior Alex Ratzlaff knocked down 23 points to lead the Trojans, coach Nathan Hiebert was pleased with the distribution of scoring among players.
“Nine girls scored tonight, and that was really, really good,” he said. “That’s a big benefit to have nine girls scoring, and that wasn’t because it was the end of the game.”
The last serious threat Nickerson mounted was in the second quarter, when the Panthers crept to within 29-28 with under two minutes remaining. Hillsboro scored 5 consecutive points to lead 34-28 at half.
Tough defense helped the Trojans weather a lull in scoring during the third quarter, and a run at the end of the period put the game out of reach.
“We tried some different things defensively,” Hiebert said. “We thought our 1-3-1 zone would be a nice option for us, and the girls ran it well tonight. We got more fast break opportunities today than we have gotten for awhile.”
Hiebert said the game was a good lesson in discipline.
“When we did the things we talked about, good things happened,” he said. “We got good shots, easy shots, open shots, and we shot a higher percentage during those times. When we got in trouble was when we were forcing things.”
Hillsboro was scheduled to take on Lyons on Tuesday in the first round of the Moundridge tournament. The Trojans will play Inman on Friday, and take on host Moundridge on Saturday.