Hopes are high for the Hillsboro girls’ basketball team entering the 2015–16 season under second-year Scott Egan.
The Tigers return their top eight players from last year’s team that went 16–9.
Egan’s club opened the new season last Thursday with a dominating 57–20 non-conference victory over North Crawford.
The Tigers raced out to a 31–5 halftime lead and never looked back.
Senior Mackenzie Sullivan set the tone for Hillsboro with a game-high 16 points, eight rebounds and two steals.
Sophomore forward Sydney Johnson posted a double–double of 12 points and 12 rebounds with six steals. Six-foot-2 senior center Morgan Huntley added 11 points, six rebounds and two assists, and senior guard Destiny Shore chipped in six points, eight boards and five assists.
“I was impressed with our effort throughout the game,” said Egan. “We were diving on the floor after balls, hitting passing lanes and causing turnovers, and crashing the offensive glass hard (16 offensive rebounds). Our girls were not settling for jump shots, and were looking to attack the basket.”
The Tigers (1–0) scored 40 points in the paint and attempted 18 free throws, but made just five, one of the team’s blemishes from an otherwise solid win.
“I thought our team played OK in the opening game,” added Egan. “There were definitely some areas we have to iron out with 18 turnovers and shooting 5 of 18 on free throws. We also struggled on the defensive end. We played a lot of defense with our hands, causing us to get in foul trouble. We did not finish on the defensive end, giving up 12 offensive rebounds.”
Even before Thursday’s 37-point season-opening victory — North Crawford scored a 40–35 victory over Hillsboro in last year’s season opener — Egan was optimistic about the season.
“Our strength this year will be our senior leadership and our experience having our whole group back from last year,” said Egan. “The girls know what their expectations are this year and our seniors want to finish on top. We are also a deep team which will help us with the longer halves this year.”
This year the WIAA has gone to two 18-minutes halves, changing from the old four, eight-minute quarters format.
“I do believe we will be in the conference championship race at the end of the season,” added Egan. “Any time you bring almost your whole team back that won 16 games the year before, you have to be considered a contender. From what I’ve seen so far, our seniors do not want to settle for anything less. I’d be surprised if we weren’t in contention at the end of the year.”
Hillsboro will now have two weeks off before returning to action with a non-conference home game against Kickapoo on Friday, Dec. 4.