The Panthers were victims of a hyper-focused Hillsboro girls’ basketball team on Friday. The Trojans were looking to make up for a loss to Sterling, 48-43, on Jan. 8. The Trojans sliced through Nickerson like a buzz saw, 61-16.
Hillsboro did not allow Nickerson to attempt a shot, pestering the Panthers up and down the floor, until there was 2 minutes, 55 seconds left in the first quarter. The Trojans only allowed two shots in the opening period, although an Oakley Meadows jumper did connect. Hillsboro only allowed five shots in the opening half. They led 24-2 after one period and 37-6 after two quarters. Nickerson did not exceed four points in any of the first three quarters. The Panthers scored 8 points in the fourth, when Hillsboro went deep into the bench with a 54-8 lead.
The Trojans had 18 steals and forced 27 Nickerson turnovers in the game. Maci Schlehuber and Addie Lackey each had six thefts apiece. Hillsboro dominated on the glass, 27-16. The Trojans only allowed four offensive rebounds, and hit the offensive boards to the tune of 14 rebounds. Lackey had six rebounds and Danae Bina had five.
“We dominated every facet of the game,” head coach Nathan Hiebert said.
Three Trojans ended the night in double figures. Lackey led all scorers with 17 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Tena Loewen had 15 points, 50 percent from the field and 7-of-7 from the charity stripe. Danae Bina was equally efficient with 11 points on 50 percent shooting. As a team, the Trojans shot 43.6 percent from the floor.
“We didn’t shoot exceptionally well,” Hiebert said. “Sometimes in the flow of the game, it’s awkward when you’re open tons.”
Schlehuber also had an all-around good night with seven points, three rebounds, and three assists.
Hiebert said the team was more focused in practices this past week. He said they were disgusted watching the film from Tuesday. It was evident from the opening tip Friday that there would be no mercy for a less-talented opponent. Loewen said this type of focus may be a constant for the rest of the season.
“Nobody likes to lose,” Loewen said. “But it was probably good for us. It reminds you that you still have things to work on.”
Despite have a loss on the right side of their record, the Trojans have not yet played a team that can match up with their considerable talent. That fact changes this next week with the Trojan Classic tournament, which features three undefeated basketball teams. Friday’s demolition of Nickerson showed Hillsboro is gearing up for that challenge.
“The competition will be just as good if not better than at state,” Loewen said.