Hillsboro's Josie Hopkins finished with a double-double, with 11 points and 10 rebounds, in the Lady Indians' FAC in over Washington Wednesday. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
Hillsboro's Josie Hopkins finished with a double-double, with 11 points and 10 rebounds, in the Lady Indians' FAC in over Washington Wednesday. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
HILLSBORO — The Hillsboro Lady Indians shot over 40 percent from the field against their Frontier Athletic Conference rival Washington on Wednesday night. In doing so, the Lady Indians defended their home court and gained a 45-41 conference win, en route to their fourth victory of the season.

The victory by the Lady Indians was also their first FAC win of the season, moving them to 1-6 in the FAC and 4-12 overall. Although the home team played with an improved game against the Lady Blue Lions, the scoring was scarce by both teams in the first frame with HHS trailing by a 9-6 score after the opening eight minutes.

Washington (2-5, 7-8) was first to reach the scoring column at the 6:15 mark of the frame with a 3-pointer from Shawna Conger, who was Washington’s leading scorer for the game with 15 points, along with two rebounds, three steals and one assist for the game.

Hillsboro didn’t score their first points of the game until the clock read 3:30 when Karleigh Hopkins sank a basket, but the Lady Blue Lions came back with four points from Jeleeya Tyree-Smith for a 7-2 HHS deficit with 1:27 still left in the first. The Lady Indians responded with a basket by Kayden Watson, followed by a basket by Tyree-Smith, and Hillsboro made a turnaround jumper by Hopkins for a 9-6 score, still in favor of WHS.

By the time the second frame came to a close, the host Lady Indians made things even closer, with Washington leading by just a single point at 15-14 when halftime arrived.

“It is nice to get a FAC win, and just like I told my girls after the game, there was no group of kids that needed a win more than that group, and they deserved to win,” HHS head coach JR Moberly said. “Our girls did a super job of communicating and executing on defense. I’ll be honest, we work on man every day, and we don’t work on a lot of zone stuff, but again, they did an excellent job with that tonight.”

The second began with a jumper by Josie Hopkins for the Lady Indians, and they took the lead with two free throws made by Mallory Parsons and a layup from Gracie Dean for a 12-9 Hillsboro advantage. Josie Hopkins finished with a double-double as she finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while also collecting three steals and one assist. Dean finished the game with 11 points, four rebounds and three steals.

“Josie always seemed like she got a big rebound, and those were some of the biggest rebounds of the night,” Moberly said. “Karleigh, Gracie, all of them did something great tonight that helped with this win.”

Following an offensive foul by Washington, Brynn Bledsoe increased the Lady Indians’ lead to five points with a long-range jumper for a 14-9 HHS lead with 2:55 remaining on the second-quarter clock. Bledsoe totaled eight points and one rebound.

Washington regained the lead with six straight points to end the second frame for a 15-14 score off baskets by Aaralyne Estep, Conger and Natalie Woods.

The lead stayed the same by the time the third frame came to a close with the visitors leading the Lady Indians, 27-26. HHS took back the lead in the early stages of the third with a jumper from Bledsoe, and then three points were added to the lead with a 3-pointer from Dean at the 6:38 mark of the quarter for a 19-15 advantage.

Washington answered and went back ahead with points from Kendall Dye, Halli Wall and Conger, as all three players each made a basket within a span of less than two game minutes for a 22-19 lead. HHS cut the lead back to a single point with a jumper made off a shot from Dean, but Conger was there with two big-time baskets for a 27-21 Lady Blue Lions lead with 2:55 left in the third frame.

Hillsboro came back with a jumper by Watson at the 2:41 mark of the third (as she totaled four points in the game), and the lead was eventually cut down to one point by the aforementioned 27-26 score following a three-point play by Josie Hopkins.

The Lady Indians opened the fourth quarter with four straight points, including a layup by Christine Page, who powered her way to the hoop, putting HHS back in front at 28-27 with 7:14 left in regulation. There were two points added to the lead for HHS when Josie Hopkins stole the basketball, went on a fast break and scored two points with 6:38 on the clock for a 30-27 lead.

“There were a couple possessions that Christine set up some really nice screens and we made some at times when we needed some big buckets, and those screens were set by Christine,” Moberly said.

Washington eventually tied the score at 30 with a 3-pointer by Conger and later took a two-point lead with a basket by Megan Sever with 5:52 remaining in the game.

The Lady Indians didn’t fold. Instead, they battled back with a 3-pointer by Dean and two free throws from Josie Hopkins for a 35-32 advantage. Washington’s Kaelin Pfeifer made one free-throw shot at the 3:17 mark of the fourth, but HHS answered with free-throw conversions by Bledsoe, Josie Hopkins and Dean, followed by a 3-pointer by Bledsoe, with the rebound and assist by Karleigh Hopkins, for a five-point HHS lead at 40-35. Karleigh Hopkins totaled seven points, six rebounds and five assists.

Washington battled tough with a layup by Tyree-Smith (who totaled 10 points, four rebounds, two assists, one block), and a steal and layup from Woods with just under a minute on the clock for a 40-39 HHS lead, but HHS made two free throws after being fouled with Josie and Karleigh Hopkins each making one. The two-point lead turned into a four-point lead with Karleigh Hopkins adding points from the free-throw line, but WCH came back with two more points from Tyree-Smith after being fouled. HHS closed out the game with a free throw made by both Karleigh Hopkins and Dean.

For the game, the Lady Indians totaled a 41.7-percent shooting percentage (15-of-36), while Washington shot 25.9 percent for the game (15-of-58). HHS also finished 12-of-24 from the free-throw line (50-percent), and Washington was 7-of-14 (50-percent).

Next for Hillsboro is an FAC road game on Saturday, Jan. 18 at Jackson.