NECEDAH — For 18 minutes third-place Necedah went toe-to-toe with league-leading Hillsboro.
But in the end the second-ranked Tigers were simply too talented offensively and too tough on defense, outscoring the Cardinals 36–16 in the second half to pull away for a 61–37 Scenic Bluffs Conference win at Necedah High School last Thursday night.
Hillsboro coach Curt Hildreth has warned his team all year that they will get everyone’s best shot, and so far the undefeated Tigers have overcome all challengers.
The Cardinals slowed the game and trailed by just four points at the half, 25–21, but couldn’t maintain their style of play.
Hillsboro (10–0, 6–0 SBC) shook off a sluggish first half and played at their pace in the final 18 minutes.
And Hildreth credits the turnaround to an uptick in defensive intensity.
The Tigers made 10 steals in the game and held the Cardinals (6–4, 4–2) to just 16 points in the second half, less than a point per minute.
Senior point guard Joe Helgerson made three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points, four rebounds and three asssists. Fellow senior Ethan Thorson added 10 points on a pair of 3-pointers and 4 of 8 shooting.
Senior forward Max Stockwell was his stellar self, posting 22 points, 10 rebounds and four steals.
Senior Hunter Stanek added seven points and seven rebounds.
Miles Saylor scored 10 points to lead Necedah. He was the only Cardinal to score in double figures.
The Tigers traveled to last place New Lisbon (1–11, 0–6) Tuesday and will now host Royall (7–4, 4–2 SBC) Friday night. Hillsboro will travel to Westby on Tuesday for a non-conference game.