Lady Trojans wrap up year with victory
By RYAN RICHTER
The 2007 calendar year for the Hillsboro High School Lady Trojans has been filled with great memories.
HHS closed out the year on a winning note Dec. 21 in Hillsboro, smothering the Halstead Lady Dragons, 41-30.
"I think it's a good way to end the year," head coach Nathan Hiebert said. "You don't want to go into the break thinking about a loss for seven days when you're not at practice.
"It is a confidence boost, we've played some tough teams before Christmas and I think we're still learning things and we did them better tonight than we did against Collegiate, so we've got to keep improving on those things."
The Lady Spartans harassed the Trojans (2-3) three days earlier in a blowout. This time, it was Hillsboro that returned the favor.
The Trojans did just that, holding Halstead to a 12-48 night of shooting, and forcing 18 turnovers.
Hillsboro knocked down 50 percent of its shots the second half and 41 percent for the game.
Hillsboro's still struggling with mistakes, however, surrendering 19, which kept the Dragons hanging around the first half.
Marissa Vermillion gave Halstead its first of two leads of the game, scoring the first basket before the Trojan defense tightened up and the Dragons went ice cold shooting the ball and held Halstead scoreless the closing four minutes, 40 seconds.
The Lady Dragons managed just one field goal the entire first half, relying on three-point shooting to stay within 19-13 at the half.
Samantha Heinrichs scored a game-high 12 points for Hillsboro, and knocked down one of her two threes during a 10-3 run which helped push Hillsboro's lead to 31-16 to start the fourth quarter.
Tiffany Rooker scored a basket that gave the Trojans their largest lead of the game, 33-16.
Halstead would pull to within 11 twice in the closing 5:20, but baskets from Dakota Kaufman, who added 10 points, Kassidi Luthi, and Amy Neufeld kept the Trojans' foot on the pedal to speed to the finish line.
"We wanted to slow them down and frustrate them," Hiebert said of the defensive display. "We switched defenses quite a bit and we knew they'd be willing to shoot and we wanted to encourage them to shoot rushed shots.
"We had six girls (Rooker, Luthi, Heinrichs, Kaufman, Neufeld, and Amanda Faber) that did a nice job executing."
Hillsboro opens the new year at 6 p.m. Friday with a trip to Hoisington.