You would be hard pressed to find a team playing better than the Hillsboro girls basketball team after the team’s 43-30 win over Carlinville on Feb. 22.
Arguably, the Toppers are two made baskets away from being 7-0, with the only blemishes on their 5-2 record coming against Rochester in the first game of the season by two points and against Greenville in the second contest by three.
Hillsboro got their shot at revenge against Greenville on Wednesday, Feb. 24 (watch for more on that game in the March 1 Journal-News), but tuned up for the Comets with a solid win over Carlinville, who entered the game on a five-game win streak of their own.
The Toppers would have little answer for 5’8” forward Gracie Reels, who scored five of her team-best 14 points in the first quarter, but the remainder of the Carlinville line-up would combine for just 16 points, half of which came in the fourth quarter when Hillsboro was up by 16.
Layne Rupert and Nikya Harston led Hillsboro in scoring and started off hot, with Rupert knocking down six points in the first eight minutes, followed by three from Harston.
The 13-9 lead went from a trickle to a roar by halftime, with Rupert hitting a trio of three-pointers to make it 28-17 at the break.
Harston would help keep the Toppers out in front on offense with six of her team’s ten points in the third quarter, but she and the rest of the team made an even bigger impact on defense as they held Carlinville to five points and just one field goal.
The Cavies would try to come back in the fourth, getting five from Jill Stayton and three from Malia Buford, but Hillsboro had built up enough breathing room to come away with the 13-point win.
Layne Rupert would score 15 of her game-high 17 in the first half for Coach Bret Tuetken’s club, while also producing four steals. Nikya Harston, who tied Rupert for the team lead in steals with four, added in 13 points and 12 rebounds for her third double-double of the season.
Claire Tester would finish with five points and added in eight boards, while Haley Major had four points on the night. Sierra Compton and Alex Frailey finished out the scoring with two points apiece, while Compton’s older sister, Vanessa, led the team in assists with three.
Feb. 22 at Carlinville
Hillsboro 13 15 10 5 43
Carlinville 9 8 5 8 30
Hillsboro (43) - Layne Rupert 17, Nikya Harston 13, Claire Tester 5, Haley Major 4, Sierra Compton 2, Alex Frailey 2. Totals: 18 4-10 43.
Carlinville (30) - Gracie Reels 14, Jill Stayton 7, Addi Paul 6, Malia Buford 3. Totals: 9 9-12 30.
Three-point field goals: Hillsboro 3 (Rupert 3); Carlinville 3 (Stayton 1, Buford 1, Reels 1).
Records: Hillsboro (5-2); Carlinville (5-2).