SOLDIERS GROVE — The Hillsboro girls’ basketball team will look drastically different this year under new head coach Scott Egan.
The energetic Egan replaces legendary Hall of Fame coach Ron Benish, who amassed 550 wins in 31 years as a head coach and led the Tigers to a 21–5 mark an a trip to the WIAA Division 5 sectional semifinals a year ago.
Egan has implemented an up-tempo, fast-breaking offense and pressure man-to-man defense in place of Benish’s strict zone defense and methodical, yet efficient offense.
Last Thursday the 24-year old Ormo native and UW–La Crosse graduate made his varsity head coaching debut against North Crawford.
Senior Natasha Swiggum scored a team-high 15 points as the host Trojans downed Egan and his new-look Tigers, 40-35.
“It was the first game of the year for us and the girls were a little nervous,” said Egan, who coached seventh grade boys’ basketball at Westby a year ago. “A lot of our girls are in their first year on varsity and we missed a lot of shots we usually make. The shots were just coming up short.”
North Crawford (1–1), which opened the season with a 51–32 loss to River Ridge last Tuesday, jumped out to a quick 8–2 lead.
Hillsboro answered with a 9–4 run to pull within a point at 12–11 midway though the second quarter, but the Trojans extended their lead to five at the half, 17–12.
Egan and his Tigers put the full court press on to start the second half and the chaos cause a number of North Crawford turnovers that led to easy Hillsboro baskets.
Junior guard Destiny Shore scored eight of her game-high 16 points in the period as the Tigers used a 14–2 run to open the quarter to take a 26–19 lead.
But the aggressiveness of Hillsboro got the Tigers in foul trouble and North Crawford was in the double bonus early in the fourth.
The Trojans converted 12 of 18 free throws for the game and pull away with a 20–9 run over the final 11 minutes of the game.
“We had a really good third quarter, but we got in a bit of foul trouble,” said Egan. “We also only shot 28 percent for the game and only 5-of-29 in the paint. We got the looks we wanted we just didn’t put them in. If we shoot even 35 percent we probably win the game by 10.
“For a first game a lot of things went well for us. Our defense was pretty good for the most part and we outrebounded them 38–29 and 22–8 on offensive rebounds. Those are things to build off of.”
Shore finished the game with 16 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists before fouling out.
“Destiny had a nice game offensively,” said Egan. “Now we just need a second scorer to step up and help carry the load.”
Six-foot sophomore Shelby Levy added eight points and seven rebounds. Six-foot-2 junior Morgan Huntley chipped in six points and seven boards.
Junior April Thornsen added two points, three steals and two assists.
Hillsboro (0-1) will host De Soto on Dec. 4.