Hillsboro's presence in the paint helped them score their 12th win of the season on Monday, Jan. 13, as the Lady Hiltoppers beat Wesclin 61-46 in Hillsboro.
Complimented by three-point shooting from Haley Major and Layne Rupert, the Toppers worked the ball inside to Nikya Harston and Claire Tester, with Emily Reynolds also knocking down mid-range jumpers to add to a balanced offensive effort.
In the opening quarter, Reynolds and Harston each scored four points in the first four minutes to give the Toppers an 8-4 advantage over the Warriors, with Major knocking down a three to make it 11-6 with 2:19 to play.
But Wesclin would outscore Hillsboro 8-2 in the final two minutes as McKenzie Hancock (six) and Gianna Bilbruck (two) found ways to slip past the defense and take a 14-13 lead into the second quarter.
Hillsboro opened up the second with a pair of threes from Rupert after a Wesclin free throw, making it 19-15 before a minute had ticked off the clock.
Wesclin would answer with five straight points of their own and the lead would jockey back and forth until two minutes to play in the first half and the score tied at 26-26.
Hillsboro would take a 30-26 lead into the locker room though, as Tester hit a pair of free throws and Reynolds lofted in another jumper with four seconds left to put her team out in front by four.
Wesclin's ability to get to the basket continued in the second half, but they were less successful in those attempts, both in the field and at the free-throw line, where they were 2-for-6 in the third quarter.
Those missed opportunities opened the door for Hillsboro, who scored 19 points in the quarter and began to pull away from the Warriors.
After falling behind 31-30 thanks to a three from Hailey Rakers and a two from Bailey Bell, Hillsboro got seven straight points from Nikya Harston and Haley Major to build up a six point lead.
Wesclin would break their 90 second scoring streak with a free throw, but Major hit a three and Reynolds scored again to make it 42-32 at the midway point of the third quarter.
Both teams would score in the final four minutes of the quarter, with the Warriors never getting closer than seven points. Harston, who had the last bucket of the period to make it 49-39, scored seven in the quarter to give herself 15 in the game.
The fourth would belong to Hillsboro as they answered every Wesclin basket with one or two of their own. Claire Tester would throw in six points in the quarter to give Hillsboro two players in double figures as the Toppers finished off the 15-point win.
Harston would lead all scorers with 19 points, while Tester added in ten. Haley Major was just a point away from double-digits with nine points, all from three-point range, with Layne Rupert and Emily Reynolds adding eight each. Vanessa Compton and Shelby Houchlei would round out the scoring with five and two points respectively.
The win improved Hillsboro's record to 12-10 on the year. The Toppers will take on Vandalia at home on Thursday, Jan. 16, in a South Central Conference tilt, before heading to the Highland Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 18, to face Breese Mater Dei at 7 p.m.
January 13 at Hillsboro
Wesclin 14 12 13 7 46
Hillsboro 13 17 19 12 61
Wesclin (46) - Mckenzie Hancock 13, Hailey Rakers 11, Bailey Bell 11, Gabrielle Bilbruck 5, Gianna Bilbruck 4, Lauren Rakers 2. Totals: 18 8-15 46.
Hillsboro (61) - Nikya Harston 19, Claire Tester 10, Haley Major 9, Layne Rupert 8, Emily Reynolds 8, Vanessa Compton 5, Shelby Houchlei 2. Totals: 25 6-11 61.
Three-point field goals: Wesclin 2 (H. Rakers 2); Hillsboro 5 (Major 3, Rupert 2).
Records: Wesclin (4-16); Hillsboro (12-10).
34th Annual Highland Girls Basketball Tournament
Saturday, January 18
Game 1: 10 a.m. - Civic Memorial vs. Althoff
Game 2: 11:30 a.m. - Collinsville vs. Breese Central
Game 3: 1 p.m. - Belleville West vs. Salem
Game 4: 2:30 p.m. - Teutopolis vs. Triad
Game 5: 4 p.m. - O'Fallon vs. Taylorville
Game 6: 5:30 p.m. - Nashville vs. Belleville East
Game 7: 7 p.m. - Breese Mater Dei vs. Hillsboro
Game 8: 8:30 p.m. - Highland vs. Okawville
Monday, January 20
Game 9: 4 p.m. - Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
Game 10: 5:30 p.m. - Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4
Game 11: 7 p.m. - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
Game 12: 8:30 p.m. - Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4
Tuesday, January 21
Game 13: 4 p.m. - Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 6
Game 14: 5:30 p.m. - Loser Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8
Game 15: 7 p.m. - Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6
Game 16: 8:30 p.m. - Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8
Wednesday, January 22
Game 17: 5 p.m. - Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 10
Game 18: 6:30 p.m. - Consolation Semifinal - Winner Game 13 vs. Winner Game 14
Game 19: 8 p.m. - Winner Game 11 vs. Winner Game 12
Thursday, January 23
Fifth Place Bracket
Game 20: 5 p.m. - Loser Game 11 vs. Loser Game 12
Game 21: 6:30 p.m. - Loser Game 15 vs. Loser Game 16
Game 22: 8 p.m. - Winner Game 15 vs. Winner Game 16
Saturday, January 25
Game 23: 10 a.m. - Consolation Championship - Winner Game 17 vs. Winner Game 18
Game 24: 11:30 a.m. - Fifth Place - Winner Game 20 vs. Winner Game 21
Game 25: 1 p.m. - Third Place - Loser Game 19 vs. Loser Game 22
Game 26: 2:30 p.m. - Championship - Winner Game 19 vs. Winner Game 22