Hilander girls onto final 8

BURNS – Pack your bags Hilanders fans. The Burns girls’ basketball team enters competition towards a state title after a 55-44 win over Santiam Christian in round one of the state tournament on Friday in Burns.

“Santiam Christian was a good battle for us,” said Burns coach Brandon McMullen.

Burns forced Santiam Christian into 19 turnovers in the victory and focused on limiting Mountain Valley Conference Player of the Year Audrey Miller.

“We keyed in on limiting Miller defensively and I felt we put together a solid effort on that end of the floor,” McMullen said.

Relate: Burns Hilander Action Photos

Offensively, the Hilanders’ Allie Hueckman was back after seeing herself double and triple teamed throughout the district playoffs. Hueckman put up 32 points in the game against Santiam Christian to lead Burns.

“She showed her scoring ability from the perimeter and put it on the floor to be a creator for us as well,” McMullen said. “While she has the ability to score at a high clip, the girls are finding ways to spread the points around when teams focus too much on her defensively.”

Skye Miller added 11 points for the Hilanders.

“She is a gritty defender/rebounder who is tough to cover when going downhill and can also keep you honest from the outside,” McMullen said of Miller. “Over the last couple weeks, we seem to have different players step up for us in each game and it is great to see.”

Sixth ranked Burns now travels to North Bend High School to take on third ranked Pleasant Hill on Thursday, March 5. The Billies are 20-3 on the season with one of those losses coming at the hands of Santiam Christian on January 17. The remaining two losses came in games against Clatskanie and Sutherlin.

Game time is 6:30 pm (PT).

Footnote: A March 5 win by the Hilanders and by the Vale Vikings against Sutherlin will set up the fourth meeting of the year between the two Eastern Oregon League teams. The Vikings lead currently 2-1, but Burns took the last matchup, 34-32 in the district tournament.