The sign of a good team is having the ability to bounce back after a tough game or a defeat. Maybe the Hillsboro girls varsity basketball team is starting to acquire that trait. After losing to West County on Friday, the Hawks came back on Saturday to defeat Viburnum 52-34. Hillsboro will play in the consolation final of the Kingston/West County Christmas Invitational on Monday against the DeSoto Dragons. The game will be played at West County High School at 12 noon.
“It was a good game from both teams,” Hawks head coach Andrew Hubbard said after the game. “On offense I thought we did a really good job of attacking the basket on the wing, and getting the ball to the high post and attacking as well. A lot of girls scored for us because we did a great job looking to find someone in a good position to score, or passing up an open look for a better one.”
Eight girls would score for Hillsboro, but five would score in the first half which allowed the blue and white to take a 24-14 halftime lead. Zoe Wood netted seven points in the first half, and said shot selection was the key. “We slowed our game down and focused on getting good shots. We had lots of ball movement, and worked on executing our plays. We worked together very well, and tried to give everyone opportunities to score.”
While the first half went well for Hillsboro, the third quarter was even better. The Hawks outscored Viburnum, 22-9 to take an insurmountable 46-23 lead heading into the fourth quarter. As effective as the offense was, the Hillsboro defense was stopping the opposition in its tracks. “On defense, I thought we really played hard and gave a ton of effort,” Coach Hubbard pointed out. “We did a good job of not giving up easy baskets and getting back on defense, and we forced them to take tough shots. My big girls inside did a great job rebounding and not giving them many second chance points. I’m very proud of my girls to give such effort since that was our third game in three days.”
After Wood’s game high 13 points, Maya LaPlante added ten points. She said that the team has a different attitude right now. “The confidence is definitely going up,” she noted. “I think we are all really working hard on defense. On offense, we are working together and moving the ball a lot better. I think this tournament so far is really showing others how much we’ve improved already.”
Abby Cole finished the game with nine points, while Payton Bingman and Alicen Dietrich each scored five points. Dietrich has the feeling that the team is really starting to gel. “We are all finally working as a team, which we were not really doing earlier in the season,” she admitted. “Our shots are starting to fall, and we are all getting more used to playing with each other, which I think is why we have had success in this tournament.”
Rounding out the scoring for the Hawks was Ryleigh Hindle and Kenzie Golden with four points each, and Hailey Genge with two points.