Someone had to lose.
Unfortunately for the Hilhi girls, it was the Spartans who were on the wrong end of Hillsboro's long-standing rivalry between the city's two oldest high schools.
Glencoe (4-7) got a combined 30 points and 14 rebounds from Bella Martinez and Jolanda Weisboeck, including two very big free throws from Martinez in the waning seconds, to hold-off the hard-charging Sparts en route to a 63-59 win Wednesday night, Jan. 8, at Hillsboro High School.
In a game that was close for the bulk of the contest, the Crimson Tide led by six at the half, just one after three quarters, and was tied with 32 seconds remaining before Martinez ultimately wrapped the game up with two clutch free throws that gave Glencoe a four point lead with seven seconds on the clock.
"That situation is fun for me," Martinez said. "I just looked at those shots as just normal free throws, and treated them just like I do in practice. It was fun to get this win (over Hillsboro), and something we take pretty seriously."
Martinez, who led the Tide with 16 points, was part of a balanced attack that saw five Glencoe players score seven or more points — none bigger than the two that junior Skylar Baldonado scored to break a 59-59 tie with 23 seconds remaining.
After Hillsboro (6-4) tied the game on a Kylie Fernstrom lay-in with 32 seconds to go, Glencoe beat the pressure on the ensuing possession and found a streaking Baldonado for a relatively uncontested lay-in to give the Tide the lead. Following a timeout, the Spartans went for the win, running a set play for sophomore sharp-shooter Margaret Shively in the corner. Shively got an open look and got up a good shot, but it ultimately missed its mark and Martinez' subsequent free throws iced the game.
"We got exactly what we wanted there," Hillsboro head coach Sara Harsin said. "We've been working on last second situations and we ran the play exactly how we wanted to, and we got Margaret a good look. It was a good shot and I'd give it to her again. It just didn't go in."
While Harsin wasn't blaming the loss on the last second shot, she was pointing the finger at the Spartans' inability to get rebounds as something largely responsible for the defeat. Hillsboro forced 30 Glencoe turnovers in the game, but was outrebounded 42-23, including allowing the Tide 17 offensive rebounds.
"We've got to rebound and to do that we've got to want it," the coach said. "We're too slow to look up on the box out. Too slow to get to the right position. And too slow to the ball. We have to do a better job of anticipating where the ball is going, then going to get it."
Meanwhile, for a coach on the winning end, Glencoe head coach Kassi Conditt was far from jumping for joy regarding the manner in which her team did it. Citing an inability to control the tempo as a persistent problem, and something that's inhibiting the Tide from playing to their potential.
"We let other teams dictate how we play, and we play chaotic," Conditt said. "I felt like we had moments where we played disciplined basketball and we moved the ball and got good shots, but as soon as they stated pressing, and even before that in moments, we just forget how to play basketball sometimes."
The coach said that she was happy with the win, but in the big picture understands that in order to meet their goals, they'll have to overcome the mental hurdles that have gotten and continue to get in their way.
"We kinda got stuck in a position where we felt like we were giving 100% effort and weren't seeing results," she said. "So they started questioning themselves and their ability instead of staying the course and being confident, and I think that's our biggest battle right now is just the mental battle."
After an even first quarter, Glencoe built as much as a six point lead with help from buckets by Martinez, Maggie Gerber, and Jayda Lee. Meanwhile, Hillsboro kept within shouting distance with help from Fernstrom and senior post Rian Porter, who accounted for 10 of Hilhi's 12 second quarter points. The third quarter felt like more of the same, with the Spartans continuing to lean on Porter and Fernstrom, with Shively and guard Dylan Kem getting into the act.
Trailing by one to start the fourth, Hillsboro got just their second lead when Porter sunk two free throws to open the quarter, but Glencoe immediately wrestled it back, 45-43, when Weisboeck finished an and-1 to put the Tide back ahead until the Sparts tied it 59-59 with Fernstrom's last minute lay-in.
In the end, Martinez was happy with the win and even more excited about what she thinks can be a nice run through the Pacific Conference schedule.
"I'm excited," she said about league play. "I think we're going to be someone that surprises a lot of people."
And Conditt? Less excited on this night, but happy nonetheless to get the 'W.'
"I would've preferred we play much better, but for the most part they did what they needed to do," she said. "We got it done."
In addition to Martinez and Weisboeck, Baldonado added eight points, while Gerber and Mallory Confer tallied seven apiece.
Porter led Hilhi with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Fernstrom added 18 points, Shively had 11, and Kem eight.
Glencoe's Friday game with Summit was cancelled, but the Tide will travel to Forest Grove for a 7:00 p.m. game Wednesday, Jan. 15, at Forest Grove High School.
Hillsboro will next host Scappoose in their league opener at 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at Hillsboro High School.
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