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The Spartans get 23 points from Margaret Shively and use a swarming press to pull away from the Tide in the fourth quarter.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Hillsboro's Margaret Shively goes up for a shot in traffic during the Spartans' game against Glencoe Thursday night, Dec. 16, at Glencoe High School.They say it's not how you start, but rather how you finish. Well, the Hillsboro girls basketball team both started and finished well en route to a 46-33 win against traditional rival Glencoe Thursday night, Dec. 16, at Glencoe High School.

Margaret Shively led the way for the Spartans (3-1), scoring 23 points while dishing-out seven assists and swiping nine steals.

The senior guard scored the teams first six points as part of an 8-0 run to start the game, then added nine points as the catalyst to a 16-2 fourth quarter edge that ultimately turned a one-point deficit into a 14-point win.

"Lately we've been a fourth quarter team," Shively said. "I don't really know why that is, but I think we just hustle at the end and just have more fire than we do in the beginning."

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Glencoe's Hannah Willard takes a shot over Hillsboro defenders during the Crimson Tide's game against the Spartans Thursday night, Dec. 16, at Glencoe High School.The Spartans' press was Glencoe's undoing, forcing a bevy of Tide turnovers and holding the home team to an 0-12 run from the field in the game's final stanza.

Hillsboro head coach Sara Harsin was pleased with the fourth quarter production and obviously the win over their crosstown rival, which was their first since 2015, but thought it to be less about the pressure and more about her group of girls that just tend to figure things out as they go.

"This group is really smart and they just get better as they go," the coach said. "They're thinkers. Very analytical, so the more opportunity they have to see and play, they get better as the game goes on."

Glencoe (1-4) gave Hillsboro problems in the first half with their inside presence. The Tide got 22 combined points and 18 rebounds from posts April Jones and Izzy Hill, repeatedly getting put-backs and near lay-ins from the block to keep things close.

After trailing 8-0 to start the game, the Tide defense stiffened en route to an 8-5 first quarter deficit, and they later pulled within 17-16 at the half.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Hillsboro's Jonette Singh attacks the basket during the Spartans' game against Glencoe Thursday night, Dec. 16, at Glencoe High School.The third quarter saw both teams get things going offensively, with Shively and Isabel Tapley doing the bulk of the Spartans' work, while Jones and Hill continued to carry the bulk of the load for Glencoe, with help from Dom Bouska, Rachel Gerber, and a buzzer-beating basket from freshman Baylie Thompson which gave the Tide a 31-30 lead headed to the fourth quarter – where the Sparts pulled away.

Along with just three seniors, the Spartans have a mixed roster of three juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen. Harsin said that despite the relative lack of experience, they're learning and improving every day, and she's beginning to see those strides on the court.

"This group is pretty athletic, but they haven't played a whole lot of basketball, and even less together," the coach said. "So, it's a matter of figuring things out and learning and getting better. It's going to take a little bit of time, but as long as they're willing to learn and work hard, it's going to be fun."

Shively said much of their success early-on, along with any success they have going forward has been and will be attributed to hard work, but also the bond they have and continue to build on and off the court.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Glencoe's Izzy Hill scans the Hillsboro defense during the Tide's game against the Spartans Thursday night, Dec. 16, at Glencoe High School."I think having that bond off the court has made us stronger," she said. "We have a wide range of ages on this team, but I think we really work well together and help each other out."

And it was that teamwork that helped them get their first win over their rival in six years, which Shively said certainly didn't stink.

"It's always good to beat Glencoe," she said with a chuckle. "They're our rival team, and we didn't want to have to hear any 'smak' from them."

Hillsboro scorers included: Shively 23, Tapley 12, Kaleah Webb 5, Braxtyn Ellsworth 4, Jonette Singh 2.

Glencoe scorers included: Jones 11, Hill 11, Hannah Willard 6, Thompson 2, Bouska 2, Gerber 1.


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