MUSCODA–Senior center Morgan Huntley scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Hillsboro to a dominating 60–34 victory at Seneca last Tuesday night in the final game of 2015.
Senior Destiny Shore and sophomore Sydney Johnson scored 10 points apiece for the Tigers, who improved to 8–2.
Last week’s game was Hillsboro’s only game in a two-week stretch over the holiday break.
The Tigers returned to action Tuesday at Cashton (3–5, 1–2 SBC) and will next travel to league-leading Bangor (8–0, 3–0) on Friday.
“The break helped out a lot with our team health,” said Hillsboro head coach Scott Egan. “The girls getting time off to rest their bodies was almost as important as practice over break.
“Alexis Mathis was able to heal from her severe ankle sprain and will be available tonight. Cheyenne Hanke will be out until Friday with a concussion. But beyond that, we have girls that have been playing through various injuries, and I think the break was needed. We actually had a great practice Monday coming off the break, and everyone was starting to look healthy again.”
At what amounts to the midway point of the season, Egan likes where his team is, but notes there is still a lot of season left to play, including 11 of the team’s 14 conference games.
“I’m happy overall with our play so far this season,” added Egan. “The Brookwood and Riverdale (non-conference) losses were tough, but there were also many positives that came out of those games. We are gaining confidence every week this season, it seems, and it’s been great to see us progress throughout the season. Every week we have seemed to play a little bit better, and girls are starting to feel a lot more comfortable in their roles.”
Egan notes his team’s senior leadership as one of the main reasons for the early success.
“They push everybody in practice and in games to a high level, making our practices more valuable than they were last year,” said Egan. “Bad practices have been rare this year.
“Another thing that has been important to our success is the bond that this team is slowly starting to build. At the beginning of the year, I think some girls had personal goals in mind that may have been affecting the team. Now, I believe everybody’s goals are as a team. This team wants to win a conference championship. They want to make a deep run in the playoffs. They know they only way they can do that is put their personal goals aside and do what’s best for the team.”
Egan has also been pleased with his team’s defensive effort to this point.
“Our man-to-man defense has been great so far this year,” added Egan. “Every good player we’ve played this year has had to work for every shot and point they’ve had this year. Our scores don’t al ways tell the tale of how good our defense has been for a night because we have had some turnover issues this year which have lead to teams getting easy baskets, but if a team has to play in the half court, I like the chances of our team getting a stop.”
Egan’s only concern at this point in taking care of the ball.
“We’ve had too many turnovers in games to win against good teams,” said Egan. “Against Brookwood we had 17 turnovers and we only lost by seven. Against Riverdale, the number seven team in Division 5, we had 27 turnovers and we lost by 10. This has a lot to do with our movement on offense and making sure we’re not standing around waiting for someone else to do something. Everybody has to be active on offense just as much as they are on defense.”
Hillsboro was 2–1, tied for third place, in the conference entering Tuesday game at Cashton, but can begin making up ground on league-leading Bangor (8–0, 3–0) and Brookwood (6–1, 3–0) beginning Friday night.