Hillsboro girls seek firepower

News editor

One question looms larger than any other as Hillsboro Lady Trojans coach Nathan Hiebert prepares his team for the upcoming season: Where are the points going to come from?

Graduation took away Alex Ratzlaff and Tassanee Sanchez, Hillsboro’s top scorers last year. Among Hiebert’s returning players, none averaged more than 5 points per game.

However, with a strong contingent of experienced seniors and juniors, Hiebert sees opportunities for an offense driven not by stars, but by solid team play.

“We’re going to have to do things by committee,” Hiebert said. “There’s a lot of girls that can do things. It seems like each day there are some different girls that are stepping up and doing well with scoring and defense. We’re going to have to embrace that.”

Such a style could work to the team’s advantage.

“It’s a little easier sometimes for defenses to key off of one or two people, but if you have to guard and play off everybody, that’s a better situation.”

Hiebert said the team doesn’t have “a lot of extremely vocal leaders,” but seniors Callie Linnens and Rebecca Kaufman and junior Abby Sechrist have quietly assumed that role.

“Their experience and knowledge has been good,” Hiebert said. “Rebecca has been doing a really nice job of how she leads, how she executes, and how she treats her teammates.”

While Linnens is solid at forward, Sechrist and Kaufman are swing players who can fill both guard and forward positions, giving Hiebert additional flexibility.

Savannah Unruh at guard and Mesa Merrell at guard and forward round out the senior contingent.

Junior Sienna Kaufman will see time at guard, and sophomore Trinity Malm is in the mix for getting playing time in the frontcourt.

“Trinity’s a great worker, she rebounds extremely well, and she’s not afraid to be physical,” Hiebert said.

With players that are good outside shooters, good team mobility, and good length, Hiebert has elements that could come together for a successful season.

However, success beyond the team’s record is equally important to Hiebert.

“Our goal is to try to convince people that our team is stronger than one or two people, being excited for others and celebrating the success of others,” he said. “We live in a society where we like to complain or blame, so excitement for success is something we’re trying to grow.”

The season kicks off at home Friday when the Lady Trojans take on Sterling.

Last modified Dec. 1, 2016

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