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Spartans are outshot and outrebounded by the Kingsmen, but grind-out home win

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Hilhi's Kylie Fernstrom goes up for a shot during the Spartans' game against Putnam Jan. 23 at Hillsboro High School.It wasn't pretty. There's no way around that.

The Hilhi girls basketball team beat Putnam 42-30 Tuesday, Jan. 23 at Hillsboro High School, but what started as a muddled and sputtery mess, ended similarly, but in victory for the home Spartans who'll be happy to put this one in the rearview mirror.

"We've definitely played better," said Hillsboro head coach Sara Harsin. "But we had some kids step-up. Naomi had a solid game and Dylan hit some nice shots for us."

The Spartans were outrebounded and outshot from the field, but led for most of the game despite what was by all accounts simply an off-night. The win was the fourth in row for Hilhi and fifth in their last six games, improving to 8-8 overall and 5-1 in conference.

Hillsboro was led by freshman Dylan Kem who finished with eight points on 3-of-7 shooting, including two three-pointers.

The game started slow, with the Sparts leading 5-4 midway through the first quarter before a handful of Hilhi free throws and a buzzer-beating three by Putnam's Mimi Booth left the Spartans leading 10-7 after one quarter.

Putnam pulled within one with a quick basket to start the second, but Hilhi responded with a Kylie Fernstrom three-pointer, followed closely thereafter by Dem's first trey of the night to take an eight point lead, which would become nine as the two teams headed for the halftime locker room.

Hilhi led despite shooting just 29-percent from the field, 5-of-15 from the free throw line, and getting outrebounded 22 to 12 over the first 16 minutes.

"We're normally a solid shooting team," said Harsin. "It was just one of those nights."

The Kingsmen never really threatened in the second half and Hillsboro, for the most part, plodded their way to the win. But with first place La Salle next up for the Spartans, it'd likely be best to move beyond this game and prepare for what will require a much better effort Friday night.

"These are mentally tough kids," Harsin said. "They weren't satisfied and were frustrated with how they played. They'll get past it."

The Spartans' game at La Salle Jan. 26 is set for a 5:30 p.m. tip off.

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