HILLMAN-Its been a rough season for the Hillman girls basketball team thus far.
The Tigers were beaten by Arenac Eastern in a 53-23 rout on Tuesday that showcased an Eagles team that is on the rise after beating Alcona and a Hillman team that is looking to grow after two tough losses in a row.
Hillman lost its first game on Friday to Posen 63-28.
News Photo by Eric Benac
Taylor Bensman (22) of Hillman drives towards the hoop as Brooke Sendo (12) of Arenac Eastern looks for the steal. Arenac won 53-23.
"Right now, through two games, we're making way too many mental errors. We're working on these things in practice, but as of now they're not showing up on the floor. We got a lot of work to do," Hillman coach John Kuzewski said.
Things didn't start out too badly for the Tigers (0-2) in the first quarter. Hillman took its only lead 4:36 into the first after an Alissa Jones free throw poked the spread to 3-2.
Neither team found a consistent offensive groove in the first quarter. A Vanessa Schook bucket tied it up 7-7, but Arenac took an 11-7 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Arenac's eight girl squad left little room for subbing, but tight play by Brooke Schutte and Chantal Murdick started to open the game up for Arenac (2-0) in the second quarter.
Schutte picked up several steals in the second quarter, which she would feed to Murdick under the basket for an easy score. The Tigers seemed to have a hard time avoiding turnovers.
"Arenac is a very good team, a very good coached team and a very disciplined team. We've played two really good teams so far, but that's what we need to do to get better as a program," Kuzewski said.
Murdick easily led the Eagles with 25 points while Schutte had 11, eight of which came in the second quarter.
Arenac slowly pulled away and held Hillman scoreless for wide stretches of the second quarter. Hillman scored with four minutes left in the half to pull to a 19-11 spread, but Schutte, Murdick and Johanna Liermann scored 10 unanswered points to give Arenac a 29-11 lead at halftime.
The Eagles out scored Hillman 18-4 in the second quarter.
Things didn't improve much for the Tigers in the third quarter. Hillman seemed to struggle to set up effective offensive plays and also struggled to stop the Eagles offense.
The Tigers were held to six points in the third, four of them coming from Eden Hunt.
Hillman tried some perimeter shooting in the third quarter, trying to land an elusive three-pointer to narrow the spread, but went scoreless from beyond the arc.
The Eagles focused on tightly choreographed plays that usually left either Liermann or Murdick open in front of the net for an easy bucket.
Arenac outscored Hillman 15-6 in the third quarter to take a 44-17 lead.
Murdick was once again the top scorer for the Eagles in the third quarter, picking up seven points including a full-court pass to an under the hoop basket with one second left on the clock.
The Tigers' defensive pressure was strong enough in the fourth to hold Arenac to eight points while picking up six of its own. Hillman continued to push under the basket and take a few perimeter shots when given the chance.
This increased offensive and defensive pressure was too little too late as the Eagles held onto a 30- point lead to the very end.
"Right now, we're not competitive. And a staple of this Hillman program is to be competitive every game you get on the floor. So right now, we got a lot of work to do. The good news is this is a young season and we have a lot of games to improve," Kuzewski said.
Hillman faces Atlanta on Friday.
ARENAC (53): J. Liermann 2-0-0-4; C. Lake 0-1-3-1; B. Sendo 1-4-6-6; B. Schutte 4-3-4-11; E. Nelson 2-0-0-4; C. Murdick 11-3-5-25.
HILLMAN (23): E. Hunt 1-2-3-4; V. Schook 2-0-0-4; A. Jones 0-1-2-1; T. Bensman 1-0-0-2; J. Tchorzynski 4-2-4-10; K. Kenyon 1-0-0-2.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.