Northern coach Pam Adams knew it was going to be an uphill battle against top-seeded Hillside on Wednesday night in the girls’ semifinals of the PAC-6 tournament.
Her thoughts came true as the Hornets won easily 81-27 and advanced to Friday night’s championship game. Hillside also swept the two regular-season meetings from Northern.
“It’s been a rebuilding process and we just got through the second year,” Adams said. “It’s been a sacrifice but I think the future is looking good for us.”
Hillside coach Ovester Grays said Northern has been the most consistent challenger to his team over the years and that Adams did the best she could with her present team.
“Northern is an opponent we’re very familiar with,” Grays said. “Tonight they were just outmanned. Pam is just working with a lot of younger kids right now and they’re not doing the things she is used to doing. She does a great job of getting the most out of kids.”
Hillside wasted little time in jumping out to a 22-4 lead in the first quarter. From there, Grays said it was more important how his team finished the game than the final score. The Hornets stayed tough on defense, too, as they held Northern to single-digit scoring in each of the final three quarters.
“After the first quarter it wasn’t so much about the score,” Grays said. “It was a matter of us improving and executing some things like they needed to be. We did a really good job of doing that.”
Zuri White scored 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, while Justine Lyons finished with 18 points and seven steals to lead Hillside (19-5).
“We knew we had to play with intensity and we came in with the right mindset,” Lyon said. “We’re playing much better as a team and we’re focused on one thing — to win it all.”
Northern (11-12) was led by Rhianna Council with eight points and six rebounds.
HILLSIDE 81, NORTHERN 27
NORTHERN — Madison Taylor 3, Kolby Snipes 4, Brittney Thaxton 4, Rhianna Council 8, Megan Pleasants 1, Julie Beeker 1, Andrea Graham 5, Remy Simmons 1.
HILLSIDE — Kelbi Lewis 4, Tykyrah Williams 10, Elisia Grissett 4, Brittany Powell 1, Justine Lyons 18, Zuri White 20, Charlotte George 1, Amanda Lawrence 4, Victoria Powell 6, Khara Harring 5, Kirsten Smith 6.
Northern 4 8 8 7—27
Hillside 22 25 14 19—81
3-point goals—Northern 1 (Graham), Hillside 1 (Harring). Rebounds—Northern 27 (Council 6), Hillside 36 (White 11). Assists—Northern 3, Hillside 7 (Lyon 3).
Records—Northern 11-12, Hillside 19-5.