Lady Trojans lose to Smoky Valley
By RYAN RICHTER
There's nothing like being able to build a little momentum heading into the post-season.
Unfortunately, that's not something the Hillsboro High School Lady Trojans and coach Nathan Hiebert have a lot of these days.
Rhys Pihl and the visiting Smoky Valley Lady Vikings made sure of that Thursday night, ruining Hillsboro's (9-11, 6-5 MCAA) senior night with a 39-29 loss
Pihl dropped a game-high 17 points on the Trojans.
"Smoky Valley had more patience on offense and got the shots they wanted," a humbled Hiebert said. "They used some time off the clock to get those shots and I thought we tried to force things."
Thursday night ranked right up there with some of the roughest performances by the Trojans this season.
The game started out ugly and didn't get much prettier with the two teams playing to a four-all tie after the first quarter, with both teams shooting less than 25 percent the first half.
Playing her final regular season game in a Trojan uniform, senior Amy Neufeld gave Hillsboro a 6-4 lead with a basket.
The Trojans then missed seven straight shots while the Vikings built a 13-8 lead with a 7-2 run.
Hillsboro couldn't get the shield off its basket all night, shooting an ice-cold 24 percent for the game (27 in the second half) and missing all eight three-point attempts.
The Vikings outscored the Trojans 11-6 the second quarter to take a 15-10 lead at the break, despite 24 percent shooting.
That percentage could only get better in the second half, and Smoky Valley heated up to 56 percent, scoring on easy baskets inside for a 40 percent overall clip.
Dakota Kaufman scored a team-high 13 points while pulling down a game-high eight rebounds, with six straight points coming in the third quarter.
Kaufman's basket at the 3:52 mark pulled the Trojans to 20-17, but the Vikings allowed them no closer.
"We fought back and got five, six, seven, eight passes and got good buckets and we got it down to three at one point," Hiebert said. "All of a sudden we started forcing shots and got away from what happened and it just got away from us."
The Trojans were battling a seven-point deficit much of the fourth quarter, until Pihl scored four straight points to account for the final margin with Hillsboro going scoreless the closing 2:13.
Pending a Tuesday victory against the Warriors, Hillsboro awaits the winner of eighth-seeded Lyons and top-seed Remington Friday.