ONTARIO — Two weeks ago Brookwood was Hillsboro biggest ally.
But a week after knocking off Royall on the final night of the regular season to help Hillsboro earn a share of this year’s Scenic Bluffs Conference title, those very same Brookwood Falcons ended the Tigers’ season even without their leading scorer.
Junior guard Leticya Madrigal missed the game, but her absence did not appear to impact Brookwood a great deal. Other players just stepped up.
Senior Kaylynn Laufenberg scored 13 points and fellow senior Morgan Hyatt had 11 to lead shorthanded Brookwood to a 53–44 victory over Hillsboro in Friday’s WIAA Division 5 regional semifinal at Brookwood High School.
“They are so deep,” said Hillsboro head coach Mark Kocyan. “The other players just stepped up their level of play. And we did not play particularly well.”
The host Falcons, who were part of the four-way tie for the SBC championship with Hillsboro, Royall and Bangor, used a 14–9 second quarter to grab a 23–19 halftime advantage.
Hillsboro stayed within striking distance behind 19 points from senior Hilary Stanek — including 10 in the third quarter — and 10 from junior Sami Levy, but Brookwood outscored the Tigers 18–12 in the final quarter putting the game away at the line by making 11 of 22 in the period.
Senior Ali Brey added nine points in her final game for Hillsboro, but only five Tigers scored in the game.
Senior C.J. Hofmeister had four points and Kelsey Skala chipped in two.
“Going into this game I knew it would be difficult,” added Kocyan. “We had defeated Brookwood twice already and I thought we played extremely well in both games in order to do so.
“They are a very deep team and wore us down in this game with their constant full court pressure and fast breaking on offense. The poor shooting on our part allowed them to get out on offensive breaks more often than in the last two games when we shot very well.”
Hillsboro shot just 22 percent (13 for 59) from the field and missed nine of 22 free throw attempts.
Brookwood went on to win the regional crown Saturday night with a 41–38 victory over Royall. The Falcons (19–6) will now face Ridge and Valley champion Seneca (23–2) in Thursday’s sectional semifinal at Richland Center.
Hillsboro finished the season 18–6.
“I felt the effort put forth by this team, on a consistent basis, was as good as any I have coached,” said Kocyan. “The seniors, Ali Brey, CJ Hofmeister, Hilary Stanek, and Mirissa Williamson were a great group on and off the court. The lessons they have learned playing the game of basketball will serve them well in the game of life.
“There is also a great group of young players at Hillsboro all the way to the lower grades of the elementary. We have dedicated youth coaches that set the foundation for future success, and their efforts are greatly appreciated. I would also like to thank my assistant coaches; Kirby Wong, Ray Kaus, and Ron Benish for all of their help and support!”
Hillsboro opened the playoffs Tuesday with a 62–36 regional quarterfinal victory over La Farge.
Stanek had 18 points, eight rebounds, six steals and five assists to lead the rout.
Levy added nine points and eight rebounds, while Hofmeister scored nine points.
Ten players scored for Hillsboro, which put the game out of reach with a 23–6 third quarter push.
Emily Jeffers scored 18 points to pace La Farge (8–14).
“La Farge was very scrappy and had one outstanding player in Emily Jeffers,” said Kocyan. “At halftime the score was closer than I would have liked, so in the second half we applied some half court pressure and LaFarge was not able to handle it. They turned the ball over giving us easy scoring opportunities allowing us to cruise to the win.”