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Home loss to Warriors is third straight for HHS girls

By RYAN RICHTER

Sports writer

It's not hard to see why Hillsboro High School girls' basketball coach Nathan Hiebert might be puzzled these days.

No matter how big a lead the Trojans have been able to build the past two games, things have always had a tendency to short-circuit.

Just when it appeared hosting Hillsboro might be on the verge of having the Marion Lady Warriors on the ropes Friday, MHS showed more determination and poise to hand the Trojans (5-7) their third straight loss, 56-48.

"They (Warriors) played with more heart and confidence than we did," a sullen Hiebert said. "We had stretches that we did, but they had a lot more in the game than we did.

"We put them on the line 29 times. We can't foul a shooter that many times.

"It's tough the ball that they play, they put their heads down and go until they run into somebody or get a lay-up."

Neither team opened the game on a high note, failing to score during the first two minutes of the first quarter.

The Warriors only scored two baskets the entire first quarter, and shot a frigid 29 percent from the field.

Hillsboro's Amy Neufeld scored a game-high 19 points — 12 in the first half — giving Hillsboro a 6-4 lead to close out a rough first quarter.

The Trojans settled down a bit in the second quarter, hitting seven of their first eight shots to open up a five-point lead on a basket by Neufeld.

Hillsboro didn't have an answer for Kayley Heerey, Julia Zeiner, and Lindsay Hett, though, and the trio combined to bomb Hillsboro for 48 points.

Heerey had a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Marion hit the Trojans with a 24-19 second quarter — with all the points coming from the trio — grabbing a 28-25 lead at halftime.

The second half had to be a hard pill for the Trojans to swallow as they held the Warriors to a paltry 8-for-25 from the floor and 40 percent overall, while Hillsboro shot nearly 50 percent for the game.

Dakota Kaufman added a quiet 14 points for Hillsboro, helping the Trojans stay within five twice in the game's final five minutes.

Neufeld got the Trojans back to within a basket twice, but Marion hit 6-for-6 at the free-throw line to maintain four, eight and, 10 point leads in the final two minutes.

"The last stretch was good, we started moving the ball with a little bit more urgency," Hiebert said. "We were shooting the ball with a little more confidence. We got a little timid once we threw it away."

The Trojans traveled Tuesday to Haven but get a rematch Friday of the Jan. 19 third-place game of the Trojan Classic when they host the Hesston Lady Swathers.

Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m.

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