The Hillsboro Hoops Formula

Growing expectations follow the Tigers following a 23-win season

When it comes to team talk around the area, Hillsboro can jabber all day. 

The Tigers return all five starters from last season’s Division 5 state runner-up team, headlined by forward Max Stockwell.  Stockwell is 107 points shy of joining the Hillsboro 1,000-point club and looks to earn his fourth first-team Scenic Bluffs honor.

“He has come to the realization that if he can get others involved like he did in the tournament run last year, then good things are going to happen,” second-year Tigers head coach Curt Hildreth said.

Meanwhile around town, buzz around a repeat trip to Madison is already making its way back to the team.

“The chatter is ‘Can they do it again?'” Hildreth said. “We have a formula now and we are trying to keep to that formula. I think the biggest thing for us is seeing how we handle having that target on our back.”

One aspect that is not being questioned in town is the overall health of the program, and the longstanding tradition that begins for some players as grade school team managers.

“It is a program up here, you see the 20 managers we have on staff,” Hildreth said. “I think I gain a manager every day.”

“I was that little kid too, so to take the full course here, it has been awesome,” said senior forward Max Stockwell. “It is nice seeing those guys around, because I see myself when I was a little kid.”

The group of current managers, which range from fourth to eighth-graders, wait patiently for their chance to be the next varsity stars in Hillsboro. 

“When you go to state  you either get a gold ball or a silver ball if you make the championship,” fourth-grader Talan Hildreth said. “We lost the championship so we got the silver ball.”

The Tigers’ first target this winter is a Scenic Bluffs conference title. From there, the goal turns to gold at the Kohl Center.

“They know what it takes to get there and what we need to do to get things done,” Hildreth said.

The Tigers season tips off Friday, Dec. 11, at Royall.