The Hillsboro girls varsity basketball team opened the season Monday at the 6th Annual Girls Fountain City Classic at DeSoto. The seventh seeded Hawks took on second seeded Seckman and took the opener on the chin, 64-16.
“We got a tough draw against a very good team in Seckman,” said first year head coach Andrew Hubbard. “They do a lot of things very well and caused us to make a lot of mistakes.”
The Hawks fell behind 20-6 after the first quarter, despite having their best offensive output of the night in the first period. Zoe Wood, Kenzie Golden, and Alicen Dietrich each got a bucket in the quarter, however the Hawks wouldn’t score again in the half. They were outscored 17-0 in the second period.
“I thought we did some things better in the second half and started playing harder on the defensive end,” Hubbard added. The final tally in the second half was Seckman outscoring the Hawks, 27-8. “We are a young team as far as varsity experience is concerned, and we will continue to grow and work each day. Again, last night I told my girls we will learn from this and use things to help us get better. We want to see progress each day and each game.”
Kayla VanHorn led the team in scoring with five points. She said it’s just a matter of girls getting game experience. “We have a lot of girls who came back that didn’t play last year, so we are still trying to adjust,” she commented. “Seckman was a tough team to beat, but we will be playing them later in the season, and I’m hoping we will do much better against them because we will have more experience playing together.”
Other scorers included Golden with four points, Abby Cole with three, and Wood and Dietrich with two points each.
Hubbard said he’s got some players with good potential on the squad, but one athlete didn’t return. “We have lost MacKenzie Baker who was the leading scorer last year, and was second in rebounds per game. Elaina Readnour is recovering from a leg injury and won’t be able to play for a little bit. She was the number two scorer last year and leader in rebounds. Our returning players are Readnour, who is providing some valuable leadership, Dietrich who we are going to be counting on down low on offense and defense, Maggie Galczynski who will be counted on down low for scoring and rebounds, Payton Bingman who will be running point guard for us, and I am hoping is a leader on defense, Wood does a little bit of everything for us with scoring, defense and rebounding, and Maya LaPlante will be counted on to score.”
Other players Hubbard has high hopes for include Cole, Ryleigh Hindle, Golden, and Lily Shropshire. “Abby will be playing on the wing and be asked to score,” said Hubbard. “Ryleigh is a very hard worker and will be one of our top defenders on the wing. McKenzie is another big for us who is a hard worker and will contribute with rebounds and defense inside, and Lily will be playing point and wing as well, and will be a top defender for us.”
Make no bones about it, Hubbard understands that improvement is the key area for the Hawks this season. “My expectations for the upcoming season are to see progress and effort. We talk about it every single day in practice that we want to walk out saying we are better than when we started that day. We want to be able to look back on the season and see a lot of growth as individuals and as a team, on and off the court. We also talk about giving everything we have at all times, and that is something I am hoping to keep seeing throughout the season.”
At this point in the season, there is one aspect of the squad that has never been in doubt. “Our strength, I feel, is effort,” Hubbard emphasized. “All of these girls, this summer and in practice, are giving me everything they have. Defense goes along with effort and is something I feel we will do well and be a strength. We talk about being a team at the end of the season that others don’t want to play because of how hard we play on defense.” Coach Hubbard also understands there will be growing pains. “Ball handling is a work in progress,” he admitted. “We have a few girls who are adjusting to playing point guard, so that will be an adjustment for those girls, but I am anxious to see their growth by the end of the season. The other work in progress for my girls will be consistency. I feel that is a work in progress for all teams…trying to be consistent at each practice, each game, and that is something we will be working on all season.
The Hawks will return to DeSoto on Friday to face Northwest in a consolation semifinal contest. The Lions lost to Farmington by 22 points on Monday. Friday’s game is scheduled for a 5:30 pm tipoff at the Junior High Gym.