The Nokomis girls basketball team has had one of the best starts to the season in the area, but the Lady Redskins ran into a Hillsboro squad hitting its stride on Saturday, Feb. 20, as they fell to the Hiltoppers 64-31.
After two losses to start the season by a total of five points, Coach Bret Tuetken’s squad hasn’t had a game within 18 points in their last four games.
Momentum continued to be in the Toppers’ favor on Saturday as Hillsboro rattled off 22 straight points before Nokomis got on the board for the first time with 1:10 to play in the first quarter on a short jumper by Mia Fesser. They would get three more on a basket by Audrey Sabol and a free throw by Hailey Engelman, but still trailed 24-5 at the end of the quarter.
Layne Rupert and Claire Tester led the enslaught for Hillsboro, with Rupert knocking down two threes en route to ten points, while Tester finished the quarter with eight points and a triple of her own.
Nokomis would find something that worked in the second quarter as Audrey Sabol picked up ten of the Redskins’ 12 points, but Hillsboro still added to their lead. Nikya Harston contributed six in the frame, while Rupert (four) and Haley Major (three) scored from the guard position.
As they did in the first half, Hillsboro continued to find the bottom of the basket in the third quarter. Spreading out 18 points between four different players, led by Alex Frailey with six, the Toppers expanded their lead to 57-27 to begin the final eight minutes, which went quickly with a running clock.
Layne Rupert didn’t score in the fourth quarter, but made up for it in the other three as she led all scorers with 18 points. The sharp-shooting sophomore hit two threes in the game and was one of four Toppers in double figures.
Claire Tester and Nikya Harston added in 14 points apiece, while Alex Frailey scored ten from the post off the bench. Seniors accounted for the other eight points, with Haley Major adding six off a pair of threes and Brianna Guinn picking up two.
For Nokomis, it was a tough pill to take as they lost for the first time in six games this season, but the contest will be a valuable lesson for the young Redskins.
Sabol finished the game with 12 points, while Hailey Engelman added six. Kristen Stauder (five), Mia Fesser (four) and Jayme Johnson (two) had 11 of Nokomis’ remaining 13 points, with Emma Sneddon adding the other two.
Hillsboro will look to continue their hot streak this week with games on Monday, Feb. 22, in Carlinville and Wednesday, Feb. 24, at home against Greenville. The Comets are one of the two teams to beat the Toppers this year, by three points in Bond County.
Nokomis starts the week at South County (the Waverly-Franklin co-op) on Monday, Feb. 22, followed by a test against Calhoun on Tuesday, Feb. 23, in Hardin.
February 20 at Nokomis
Hillsboro 24 15 18 7 64
Nokomis 5 12 10 4 31
Hillsboro (64) - Layne Rupert 18, Claire Tester 14, Nikya Harston 14, Alex Frailey 10, Haley Major 6, Brianna Guinn 2. Totals: 28 3-7 64.
Nokomis (31) - Audrey Sabol 12, Hailey Engelman 6, Kristen Stauder 5, Mia Fesser 4, Jayme Johnson 2, Emma Sneddon 2. Totals: 14 2-4 31.
Three-point field goals: Hillsboro 5 (Major 2, Rupert 2, Tester 1); Nokomis 1 (Stauder 1).
Records: Hillsboro (4-2); Nokomis (5-1).