Lady Trojans snap five-game slide
By RYAN RICHTER
If you're looking for somebody to vouch for the saying "it's better to win ugly than to lose pretty," try Hillsboro High School girls' basketball coach Nathan Hiebert.
Everything that could have gone wrong Friday for the Trojans did, as they faced a must-win game against the hosting Sterling Lady Black Bears.
Careless play, getting out-rebounded, and minimal support off the bench helped make it a tall order for the Trojans, who were looking to snap a five-game losing streak.
Hillsboro (6-9, 3-3 MCAA) used a 15-6 third quarter, despite shooting an abysmal 29 percent from the floor, to grind out a 41-35 victory against the Black Bears.
"It's huge after losing that many in a row," a relieved Hiebert said. "You could definitely tell, we had times tonight where we lost a lot of confidence because the shots weren't going down.
"It's a great win because it boosts our morale a little bit and hopefully we can get on a roll the rest of the season."
The Trojans didn't start out ugly, jumping to a 9-2 lead in the first five minutes of the game, getting a big lift from Sterling's 11 first-half turnovers.
Sterling closed the first quarter on a 6-0 run, to pull to within 9-8 after one, and 16-15 after the first half.
Anybody hoping to see a good shooting display had to look elsewhere, as both teams equally struggled from the floor missing a slew of easy baskets.
The Trojans held the one-point lead at halftime after shooting a woeful 6-for-24 from the floor.
Sterling wasn't much better at 6-for-19 for 32 percent.
Amy Neufeld scored a game-high 14 points for Hillsboro, nailing eight of 11 attempts at the free-throw line, while Dakota Kaufman pitched in 11 points, despite shooting 4-14 from the floor.
Even with the cold shooting, Hillsboro never trailed, stretching its lead to 31-21, heading into the fourth quarter.
The Trojans warmed up some from the field in the second half, but they went more than half a quarter without a basket.
The Black Bears used a 9-0 run to get to within 31-30 with 4:59 left.
Hillsboro was able to win the game at the free-throw line, making a mere field goal in the fourth quarter, but burying eight of 12 at the charity stripe.
"The second half, [and] the third quarter especially, we did a better job of executing," Hiebert said. "We haven't had a lead for a while so I think it was kind of a shock at first and we were wondering what was going on and how to play with that.
"Sterling doesn't quit, they keep coming at you, so I had to step back a bit and the girls had a couple of possessions where they got some stops.
We had a few free throws here and there and that helps when you're getting stops."
Hillsboro opened a busy week Tuesday playing host to Nickerson.
They travel Friday to Halstead for a 6 p.m. tip before visiting Wichita Saturday to take on Collegiate.