New Hillsboro boys’ basketball coach Curt Hildreth had to wait an extra week to make his varsity coaching debut.
But when Hildreth and his Tigers finally made their 2014–15 debut against visiting Seneca last Tuesday night, the new coach’s Hillsboro squad was clicking on all cylinders.
Junior Max Stockwell led an all-around team effort as the Tigers closed the game on a 16–1 run over the final 12 minutes to score a lop-sided 51–24 non-conference victory over the Indians in the season opener for both teams.
Hillsboro originally schedule season opener at Kickapoo was postponed by snow on Nov. 25 and will be made up on Jan. 6.
Stockwell scored a game-high 18 points, grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds and had three assists and two steals. The talented junior connected on 8 of 17 shots, including 2 of 6 from behind the arc.
Senior center Avery Rueckheim scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds. Junior Joey Helgerson added six points and three assists. Fellow junior Sawyer Hynek also scored six points and grabbed four rebounds.
“Our defensive pressure was right where we wanted it to be especially in the first half,” said Hildreth. “We also got after the offensive rebounds which really helped us.”
Hillsboro grabbed 15 offensive rebounds in the game and 37 total rebounds.
“We still have some things to clean up, but I like where we are headed. I was happy with the effort.”
Stockwell scored 14 of his points in the first half as the Tigers opened up a 32–15 lead at intermission.
Seneca, which played a 2–3 zone the entire game, cut the lead to 12 at 35–23 with an 8–0 run to open the third quarter, but the Tigers held the Indians to a single point over the final 12 minutes, including none in the fourth quarter.
Hillsboro (1–0) will travel to New Lisbon (1–1) to open Scenic Bluffs play Thursday night before traveling to Richland Center Saturday for a non-conference game. The Tigers will then host Necedah (2–0) on Tuesday.