ELROY — Royall’s Kelsea Storkel hit a pair of bonus free throws in the final 30 seconds of last Tuesday’s Scenic Bluffs Conference girls’ basketball game to lead the Panthers to a 29–27 victory over visiting Hillsboro.
Storkel scored a game-high 10 points to lead Royall (5–7, 3–4 SBC) to the win.
The Panthers used a trapping 1–3–1 defense to slow the pace of the game and force the Tigers into perimeter shots most of the night.
“Royall had an excellent game plan to wear our team out and frustrate us throughout,” said Hillsboro head coach Scott Egan. “They kept us out of the point and forced us to shoot long-range jump shots the whole night which isn’t our strong suit.”
Hillsboro made just two of 17 three-point attempts in the game.
“On the other end, Royall was patient and waited until things opened up created good looks for them,” added Egan. “Our defense wasn’t disciplined enough to play the slow down game Royall played.”
Hillsboro built a 16–10 lead late in the third quarter and appeared to be taking control, but a big 3-pointer from Rachel Smith and a long two from Kelsey Vieth on Royall’s very next possession brought the Panthers back within a single point.
Royall scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to take a 19–18 lead and outscored the Tigers 14–9 over the final eight minutes to pull out the two-point win.
Clinging to a slim one-point lead late in the game, Royall made 3 of 4 from the free throw line to close out the game.
“The loss to Royall was a big letdown game for us,” said Egan. “We made huge strides to get to the point we were at going into that game and we took a couple steps back. Our girls didn’t have the right amount of energy to go on the road against a big rival and get a win. A big chunk of the blame can be put on me for not having these girls prepared properly for that game.”
Freshman Sydney Johnson had nine points, six rebounds and three steals to lead the Tigers in Tuesday’s loss. Junior Morgan Huntley added nine points and five rebounds.
Hillsboro 63, New Lisbon 29
Friday night, Egan and his Tigers bounced back with a thunderous 63–29 victory at New Lisbon.
Admittedly, Egan said his team came out looking to avenge Tuesday’s unexpected upset loss to Royall.
The Tigers played an excellent all-around game and put the Rockets (6–7, 3–5) away early.
Hillsboro (8–6, 4–4) used a 21–7 second quarter run to take a 30–12 lead into halftime.
The Tigers forced 25 New Lisbon turnovers and outscored the home team in every quarter an and cruised to an easy 34-point win.
Junior Mackenzie Sullivan led the Hillsboro onslaught with 13 points, five steals and four assists.
Huntley added 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Johnson chipped in eight points, eight rebounds and five steals.
Hillsboro will host last-place Necedah (4–11, 1–7) tonight before traveling to SBC-leading Bangor (13–2, 8–0) on Tuesday.