Time running short for Trojan girls basketball
If only flipping the hourglass over and turning back time actually worked.
Hillsboro High School girls’ basketball coach Nathan Hiebert would probably be quick to do it.
Hopes were high two years ago that the Trojans’ class of 2021 could bring what was needed to get Hillsboro back on the same road to the prominence it enjoyed from 2011 to 2014, when playing the first week in March was realistic.
What was once reality has since become fantasy, with Hiebert and the Trojans struggling to get in gear, and time’s not on Hillsboro’s side.
Hopes for improving on last season’s 7-15 record aren’t out of the question as Hiebert embarks on his 13th season, though.
Despite having their season end on a 42-19 loss to state qualifier Wabaunsee in the Marion sub-state semifinals, the Trojans have some momentum heading into this season.
“We are bringing back almost all of our players from last year and we only graduated one senior,” Hiebert said. “This experience should help us transition well into this season.
We bring back our main ball handlers and post presence.”
For the first time in five years, Hillsboro wasn’t one-and-done in the postseason the last week of February, upending Mission Valley in Eskridge.
The Trojans also got a feather in their hat with the return of their leading scorer, and second-team all-CKL selection, Teegan Werth.
Werth was sidelined the entire volleyball season with health issues, but her return might be a spark this year. Werth teams up with fellow junior Kinsey Kleiner to fill out the formidable backcourt.
Kleiner picked up a trio of 20-point games last year, including a career-high 23 in the final win of the season, and is the other part of Hillsboro’s one-two punch.
Outside of the backcourt tandem, consistently finding more production has been hard for Hiebert to come by for years with the Werth-Kleiner duo accounting for more than half of Hillsboro’s scoring, as the only two averaging double digits.
That’s been pivotal in losses, especially when it’s been against perennial state contenders and league foes like Hesston, Halstead, Haven, Nickerson, and Pratt, along with non-conference pests Moundridge, Inman, and Sterling.
Junior Dani Klein gives Hiebert a three-guard lineup on the floor, but Klein will need to score more in the backcourt after two years of varsity experience.
Expect senior Mallory Ediger to challenge for a starting position, either at off-guard or swing forward along with sophomore, Emersyn Funk, to provide some depth. The Trojans have had a presence in the post for two years with juniors Jessica Saunders, and Tuesday Weisbeck, and senior Addie Berens, however, rebounding has been their biggest contribution with Saunders averaging just 6 points a game and Weisbeck half that.
Werth and Kleiner should figure to get their points, but the road could get easier if Hiebert can find a consistent third scorer and keep games from quickly spiraling out of control for the Trojans.
“Keys to the year will be to improve offensive efficiency and try to create more turnovers, defensively,” Hiebert said. “We will still be fairly young with only two seniors that bring back varsity experience.”
Last modified Nov. 28, 2019