The Pana girls basketball team handed Hillsboro their second straight 23-point South Central Conference road loss on Monday, March 8, to earn a share of second place in the SCC with the Lady Hiltoppers and Greenville.
Pana’s 65-42 win, coupled with their victory over Litchfield the next night, left the Panthers sitting at 7-2 for the season in the conference. Greenville and Hillsboro also finished 7-2, with Pana having lost to the Comets and Greenville coming up short against Hillsboro. All three teams took a back seat to Southwestern, who finished the year a perfect 9-0 to earn their 16th conference title in Coach Steve Wooley’s final year.
Monday’s game was tough from the outset for Hillsboro as Pana roared to a 19-8 first quarter lead, despite only two players scoring. Anna Beyers would have 10 points for the Panthers, while Jillian Hamilton added nine for the home team.
While that quarter set the tone for Pana’s victory, the next three would be closer in terms of the Panthers’ advantage. Pana outscored the Toppers 13-8 to double up Hillsboro at halftime, 32-16, then added another three points to their lead with a 14-11 third quarter.
Up 46-27, Pana finished off the win with a 19-15 quarter that handed Hillsboro just their fourth loss of the seaosn.
Hamilton and Beyers would lead all scorers with 20 and 18 respectively, but Hillsboro also put two players in double digits. Nikya Harston scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the way for Hillsboro, while Claire Tester had 13 points and six boards.
Haley Major would add in five points for the Toppers, while Layne Rupert finished with three. Major, Tester and Rupert all had threes for Hillsboro, who went 3-for-10 from behind the arc.
Kelsey Holtgrave, Kenadie Carlock and Alex Frailey finished out the scoring for Hillsboro with two points each as the Toppers went 17-of-44 from the field for 39 percent. Pana was eight percentage points better on the night, but chucked up 15 more shots, making 28 of their 59 chances, including 4-of-9 from three-point land.
Pana also had 14 fewer turnovers than Hillsboro and 11 more steals to improve to 11-2 on the night.
Now 11-4 on the year, Hillsboro will have one last chance to get to a dozen wins as they play Tri-City at home on Thursday, March 11.
March 8 at Pana
Hillsboro 8 8 11 15 42
Pana 19 13 14 19 65
Hillsboro (42) - Nikya Harston 15, Claire Tester 13, Haley Major 5, Layne Rupert 3, Kelsey Holtgrave 2, Kenadie Carlock 2, Alex Frailey 2. Totals: 17-44 5-8 42.
Pana (65) - Jillian Hamilton 20, Anna Beyers 18, Brayer Denton 7, Lainey Hicks 6, Rachel Holthaus 4, Kiley Ladage 4, Ellie Kuhn 2, Kylie Hendrickson 2, Chloe Ashcraft 2. Totals: 28-59 5-8 65.
Three-point field goals: Hillsboro 3-10 (Major 1, Rupert 1, Tester 1); Pana 4-9 (Hamilton 2, Denton 1, Beyers 1).
South Central Conference
1. Southwestern 9-0
2. Hillsboro 7-2
2. Pana 7-2
2. Greenville 7-2
5. Vandalia 4-5
6. Gillespie 3-6
6. Roxana 3-6
8. Litchfield 2-7
8. Carlinville 2-7
10. Staunton 1-8