Scoring Run Pushes Toppers Past Panthers

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An 18-0 run that stretched from the first to the second quarter quelled any hopes of Litchfield avenging their earlier loss to Hillsboro on Thursday, Jan. 9, as the Lady Hiltoppers defeated the Purple Panthers 54-36.

The game was back and forth to start, with both teams holding a two point lead at some point before Hillsboro tied the contest at 6-6 on two Claire Tester free throws with 3:39 to play in the first.

The Toppers would make the first move to pull away though, getting a pair of threes in the final 2:40 from Layne Rupert and Haley Major to take a 12-6 lead going into the second quarter.

The Hillsboro defense continued to put the brakes on the Panthers in the second quarter, holding them scoreless for the first six minutes and 15 seconds. During that stretch, the Toppers built on their lead, getting baskets down low from Nikya Harston and Emily Reynolds and from behind the arc by Vanessa Compton.

By the time Carly Boden scored Litchfield's first points since the 3:35 mark of the first quarter, there was just 1:45 left in the half and the Lady Panthers were down 24-8.

Reynolds and Shelby Houchlei would add to that margin with two more baskets in the final minute as Hillsboro carried a 28-8 lead into halftime, thanks to a 16-2 second quarter advantage.

The first half throttling kept Litchfield from making up much ground on the Toppers in the second half, although they did outscore Hillsboro 28-26 in the final two quarters.

The Panthers would get as close as 15 after Emily Senjan completed an old fashioned three-point play to make it 35-20, but Hillsboro went on a 7-0 run in the final two minutes of the third quarter to make it a 42-20 ball game.

Hillsboro's lead would grow to 23 in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, but a basket by Carly Boden and back-to-back threes by Becky Painter and Emily Senjan made it a 15 point game once again, 47-32.

Any hopes of a rally were quickly snuffed out on the other end though, as Haley Major hit her third three of the game immediately after Senjan's triple for the nail in the coffin.

The two teams would score four points each after that as Hillsboro improved to 4-1 in the South Central Conference, while Litchfield fell to 2-2.

Emily Reynolds led a balanced Hillsboro offense with 12 points, eight coming in the first half, as Coach Bret Tuetken's team saw nine different players score in the win.

Haley Major would add nine points, followed by Nikya Harston and Claire Tester with eight and seven respectively. Layne Rupert (six), Vanessa Compton (five), Shelby Houchlei (three), Emma Miller (three) and Alex Frailey (one) rounded out the scoring for HHS.

Carly Boden would have a big game despite the presence of Harston and Tester in the post for Hillsboro. Boden led all scorers with 14 points, ten of which came in the second half.

Emily Senjan would add eight points for Litchfield, followed by Becky Painter with five, Cara Pence with four, Carson Jackson with three and Laura Boston with two.

Turnovers would be a big problem for the Panthers, who gave up 19 points off of 20 turnovers, most caused by the defensive pressure of the Hillsboro guards.

Hillsboro will be back in action on Monday, Jan. 13, as they take on Wesclin at 7 p.m. in a varsity only contest. Litchfield will be off until Thursday, Jan. 16, when they face conference leader Pana at Simmons Gym in Litchfield.

January 9 at Hillsboro

Litchfield 6 2 12 16 36

Hillsboro 12 16 14 12 54

Litchfield (36) - Carly Boden 14, Emily Senjan 8, Becky Painter 5, Cara Pence 4, Carson Jackson 3, Laura Boston 2. Totals: 14-39 5-7 36.

Hillsboro (54) - Emily Reynolds 12, Haley Major 9, Nikya Harston 8, Claire Tester 7, Layne Rupert 6, Vanessa Compton 5, Shelby Houchlei 3, Emma Miller 3, Alex Frailey 1. Totals: 20 9-17 54.

Three-point field goals: Litchfield 3 (Senjan 1, Jackson 1, Painter 1); Hillsboro 5 (Major 3, Rupert 1, Compton 1).

Records: Hillsboro (10-10, 4-1); Litchfield (11-9, 2-2).

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