Hillsboro's Gracie Dean finished with a game-high 21 points in the Lady Indians' win over Washington, Wednesday at HHS. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
Hillsboro's Gracie Dean finished with a game-high 21 points in the Lady Indians' win over Washington, Wednesday at HHS. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
HILLSBORO — The Hillsboro Lady Indians are becoming battle-tested as they have now played three games this season, and on Wednesday night on their home court they earned their first win of the 2020-21 season by defeating the visiting Washington Lady Blue Lions, 44-39.

The Lady Indians and Washington played to a one-point differential after three quarters, with the visitors leading, 33-32. Then in the fourth frame the game became even more interesting with six lead changes, beginning with HHS scoring the first points of the fourth quarter for a 34-33 advantage off a jumper by freshman Rylie Scott.

HHS added to their lead with two points by sophomore Susanna Barney, but four straight points by Washington, including two points from the free-throw line by Allie Mongold left the Lady Blue Lions ahead, 36-35 with 6:19 on the clock.

Aaralyne Estep put Washington back in front at 39-38 with 5:21 left in the fourth frame. Following timeouts, turnovers and missed shots, it was the Lady Indians who tied the game at 39 with a converted free throw by sophomore Mya Bell with 3:34 on the clock.

Washington followed with a couple turnovers that HHS didn’t take advantage of, and there were also a couple jump balls and missed free throws. Hillsboro eventually took a two-point lead on a put-back basket by junior Eden Edenfield — who totaled 12 points and unofficially eight rebounds — for a 41-39 lead with 17 seconds remaining in the game.

Hillsboro then forced a turnover with 14.5 left in regulation, and Washington was forced to foul, sending Dean to the free-throw line. Dean made it a two-possession game with two made free throws, and following a steal and foul with under a second remaining, Dean added one final made free throw for the five-point victory.

Dean finished the Frontier Athletic Conference contest with a game-high 21 points, and unofficially she added seven rebounds. Dean also had five steals, unofficially.

Also in the FAC game for the Lady Indians, scoring consisted of Scott with four points, Barney with four points and Reagan Eastes with three points.

“We are very excited about this win,” Hillsboro head coach Chad Fields said. “It takes us a little bit to get under the game sometimes, but I felt like when we got into the flow of the game and figured out what they were doing to us defensively, we started to get into a groove. I can’t be more proud of my girls for the way they handled that.

“I joked with Gracie earlier in the week that ‘you are not going to come off the floor,’ and she ended up not coming off the floor. That is just a testament of just how much work she’s put in. She’s in the gym all the time working on her shot, and tonight she showed that in the scoring column.”

For Washington, they were led in the scoring column by Emily Semler with 10 points, all scored in the first three quarters. Estep, Mallory Hicks and Mongold each finished with nine points. Rounding out the scoring for Washington was Addie Shiltz with two points.

The first frame was a slow start for Hillsboro with the Lady Indians trailing 10-4 after eight minutes were in the books, with Dean making two free throws and Barney also knocking down two free throws.

Hillsboro cut the Lady Blue Lions’ lead down to one point when halftime arrived at 23-22, tying the score at 15 off a layup by Dean, with the assist and steal by Bell with 3:41 left in the second frame. HHS took the lead away from Washington with a three-point play by Edenfield at the 2:46 mark of the second for a lead of 18-15.

Washington eventually regained the lead with a jumper from Shiltz with 1:25 left in the quarter, but HHS eventually held the lead again shortly following two points scored by Dean off a steal and layup with 16 seconds left in the quarter. Washington’s Semler scored the final points of the first half, putting the Lady Blue Lions ahead at halftime at 23-22.

In the third, Washington added to their lead early on with two points by Mongold, only to have HHS continue to defend their home court with a jumper from Scott, plus have Dean sink a free throw basket to get to within one point of tying Washington on the scoreboard.

HHS eventually regained the lead with points from Bell (with the assist from Dean), and a jumper by Dean for a 32-31 advantage The final points of the quarter were once again scored by Washington with Mongold sinking a jumper with 1:37 still on the clock, putting the Lady Blue Lions ahead by a 33-32 score.

Next for Hillsboro is a home game on Monday, Dec. 7 against the visiting Goshen Lady Warriors in non-conference play.

Hillsboro also won the JV game on Monday night against Washington by a 33-15 score. Hillsboro scoring included Haven Long leading the way with nine points. Also for HHS, scoring included: Maddie Taylor (6), Keira Campbell (4), Reagan Eastes (3), Hannah Holland (3), Eowyn Brown (2), Addyson Miles (2), Makia Miller (2) and Morgan Garman (2).

Thew win by Hillsboro moves them to 1-2 overall and 1-0 in the FAC. Washington falls to 0-2 with both losses coming in conference play.