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Tigers' defense suffocates Eagles at Luther tourney
Fennimore held to 30 percent shooting, two points in fourth quarter
avery rueckheim
Hillsboros Avery Rueckheim gets a shot past Osseo-Fairchilds Parker Rongstad in the second half of the Tigers 66-56 loss to the Thunder. - photo by Nate Beier photo/

Hillsboro’s 1–3–1 defense suffocated Fennimore in a 49–37 victory in the consolation game of the Onalaska Luther Holiday Tournament.

The Tigers held the Golden Eagles (1–7) to just 30 percent shooting (15 of 50) on the night and just two points in the fourth quarter as Hillsboro closed the game on an 11–2 run.

“This was probably one of our best defensive efforts all season,” said Hillsboro head coach John Koopman. “Fennimore’s record is not very good but they have lost to some very good teams.  We did a great job of taking there two best players out of the game. We stopped the drive from their very good point guard (Mitch Davis) and really controlled the boards.

“[On offense] we had very balanced scoring which is what needs to happen if we want to be a good team. Everyone worked great together offensively and defensively.  It was a really good game to finish the tournament with.”

Sophomore Joey Helgerson scored 12 points on 5 of 10 shooting to lead Hillsboro, which had five players score eight or more points.

Fellow sophomore Max Stockwell added 11 points, eight rebounds and two assists, and senior guard Brandon Stanek chipped in 10 points, nine rebounds and four steals. Stanek was named to the All-Tournament team.

Forwards Avery Rueckheim and Matt Anderson each had eight points and nine  rebounds.

Hillsboro improved to 7–2 with the victory and will next travel to Brookwood on Friday, Jan. 10.

The Tigers opened the tournament with a 66–56 loss to Osseo-Fairchild.

The Orioles (5–5) shot 56.3 percent in the win and outscored Hillsboro 37–24 over the middle two quarters.

“They were a good and very athletic team, but the key to the game was they shot 56 percent and we shot 35 percent,” said Koopman. “The major factor of that was we gave up way to many transition layups.  Every time we got within striking distance we had a breakdown.  Most of that was due to good defense by them, but we just turned it over in crucial situations. Our effort was very good but just lost to a good team.”

Senior guard Isaac McIlquham scored a game-high 23 points on 10 of 15 shooting and grabbed five board to lead the Orioles.

Osseo–Fairchild went on to defeat Luther, 72–56, in the championship game.

Stockwell scored a team-high 18 points, but shot just 5 of 19 to lead Hillsboro. He also had three rebounds, three steals and three assists.

Rueckheim posted a double–double of 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Stanek added 12 points and eight boards.