Make it 4 in a row

Ryba, Tigers cruise to victory over Whittemore-Prescott

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Hillman’s Lyndsey Ryba (14) scores on a layup during the second quarter of a girls basketball game on Tuesday at Hillman High School. Ryba scored 13 of her game high 23 points in the second quarter to lead Hillman past Whittemore-Prescott.

HILLMAN–Make that four in a row for the Hillman girls basketball team.

Since falling just short in their season opener, the Tigers have responded in a big way by winning their last four games by double digits.

Tuesday’s 53-34 win over Whittemore-Prescott also marked the fourth consecutive North Star League victory for the Tigers.

Hillman was tested in the opening quarter by the Cardinals as the two teams went back and forth, exchanging leads in a quarter that ended with the home team leading 13-12.

The game changed in a big way during the second quarter as the Tigers tightened up defensively and got a spark from guard Lyndsey Ryba who caught fire, scoring 14 of her game-high 22 points in the second quarter as Hillman outscored the Cardinals 21-2 and held Whittemore scoreless for over six minutes to break the game wide open and took a commanding 34-14 lead into the break.

“Whittemore came out with a lot of energy and I give them a lot of credit for that. We fine tuned some things defensively in that second quarter that we didn’t stick with the entire game, but the second quarter really proved to be the difference tonight,” Hillman head coach John Kuzewski said. “We always try to put pressure on and I told the girls that honestly we only played well for about 10 or 12 minutes tonight, but it was that second quarter and we were able to get a double digit lead. Other than that second quarter it was a fairly even game.”

The Tigers were able to hold onto their big lead through the early stages of the third quarter and Hillman was able to get everyone on the roster plenty of action in what was a total team effort as all but one player on the roster cracked the scoring column.

“We need to have better consistency. It’s always defense first of course and tonight we turned the ball over more than we had the last few games so we need to work on taking care of the basketball,” Kuzewski said. “We need to make sure we keep our composure at critical times in the game.”

Other than the second quarter, Whittemore kept pace with Hillman in three of the four quarters, but it was the eight minutes in the second quarter that made the huge difference in the outcome as the Tigers were able to coast to another double digit victory.

Ryba paced Hillman pouring in 22 points. Kristen Kenyon scored eight points, Andrea Taratuta added six points, Brooke Jones and Eve LaFleche ended with four points apiece and Jozie Appelgren and Bailey Schook each chipped in with three points in the win.

Whittemore was led by Caitlin Liddell who scored 14 points and Brooke Kile added eight points.

The Tigers improve to 4-1 overall on the season and are 4-0 in NSL play.

Hillman will be back in action on Thursday when it hosts Posen in a non-conference game.

“We’re playing league games and every game is important. We do a good job of taking it one game at a time. We talk about it every day at practice so that’s what we’ll continue to do,” Kuzewski said. “Posen’s a big rival of ours and I know they’re going to come in ready to play on Thursday. It’s interesting playing them twice before Christmas, but we’ll be ready.”

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HILLMAN (53): T. Briley 1 0-0 2; A. Jones 0 1-4 1; B. Schook 1 1-2 3; L. Ryba 6 7-7 22; J. Appelgren 1 1-2 3; E. LaFleche 1 1-4 4; B. Jones 1 2-2 4; A. Taratuta 3 0-0 6; K. Kenyon 4 0-0 8.

WHITTEMORE (34): C. Lewis 0 1-2 1; C. Liddell 4 3-4 14; L. Hart 2 0-0 4; M. Schmidt 1 3-6 5; B. Kile 3 2-3 8; M. Broughton 1 0-0 2.