Hillside girls pull out victory over Riverside
The Hillside girls came within an eyelash of losing a second PAC-6 game in a single season for the first time in over a decade Friday night, but they held off visiting Riverside 53-51.
The boys’ game lacked the drama of opener, as Hillside crushed Riverside 71-45 in the nightcap.
Hillside girls’ coach Ovester Grays wasn’t around to see his team avert a landmark loss. The veteran coach was hit with back-to-back technical fouls for protesting a non-call that cost the Hornets a turnover with 5:46 to play and a 45-42 lead.
Center Daesha Marshall collected a defensive rebound and fired a court-length pass to Hillside guard Justine Lyons who couldn’t keep the pass inbounds as she got tangled up with a Riverside defender.
Grays received a technical foul for his reaction to the play and kept talking while Riverside’s Moné Jones hit the resulting free throws, drawing his second technical from a different official than the first.
Jones hit two more free throws to give Riverside (9-13, 3-7 PAC-6) a 46-45 lead and the ball.
Grays had to leave the was gym after the second technical foul, and Hillside coaching duties were split between assistant coaches Alex Miller and Rhonda Bullock.
Grays later said that there was some question whether his removal by the officiating crew was an “ejection” or a “disqualification.”
The difference is that N.C. High School Athletic Association rules call for an automatic two-game suspension for a coach who is ejected from a game but does not mention such a penalty for a disqualification.
Grays said Hillside athletic director Bob Hill was attempting to get a clarification on the coach’s status late Friday, but no update was available in time for today’s editions.
The Hornets (18-3, 8-1) host Southern in the 6 p.m. opener of a boys-girls doubleheader today. Southern, a winner at East Chapel Hill on Friday night, also is 8-1 in the conference and today’s winner will take sole possession of first place with two games left in the regular season.
Drama aside, Hillside overcame slopping ballhandling early and forced Riverside into 32 turnovers that proved the undoing of the visiting Pirates.
But with the lead changing frequently and Hillside players going down with apparent leg cramps and other injuries — stars Lyons, Jordyn Smith and Tykyrah Williams each were forced out of the game briefly in the fourth quarter — no one got control of the game until the final buzzer when Lyons corralled a miss by Riverside’s top scorer, Zaria Rogers (16 points), and Hillside up by two.
“I’m very proud of the girls,” Riverside coach Alicia Jones said. “They played with a lot of heart.”
In the boys’ game, Riverside played its second straight game without injured freshman point guard Justice Kithcart and it showed.
Hillside’s quick guards trapped and pressed in the backcourt and forced turnovers on four early possessions that led to an 8-0 lead on 1:14 into the game. Riverside used its only two 3-pointers of the night to trim it to 16-14, but Hillside ended the quarter with six straight points and led 35-23 at the half.
The Hornets opened the third quarter with an 18-3 run to bury the Pirates.
“We’re getting better,” Hillside coach Crasten Davis said. “That’s the scary thing about Hillside. We’re a dangerous team down the stretch.”
NOTES — A family member said Kithcart, who already has received major college recruiting attention, was advised this week to rest an injured muscle near his hip for three weeks, effectively ending his freshman season. He was first injured in a Christmas tournament and has played through the injury for the past five weeks but has experienced knee pain apparently caused by his favoring the hip.
Hillside (G) 53, Riverside 51
RIVERSIDE — Zaria Rogers 16, Andrea’Anna Pool 5, Yakima Clifton 9, Atlanta Woodall 6, Ajeya Murden-Boggan 1, Meghan Pleasants 1, Kiara Jacobs 3, Moné Jones 10.
HILLSIDE — Tykyrah Williams 13, Mylea McKennith 11, Sydney Brown 1, Justine Lyons 10, Jordyn Smith 7, Khara Herring 4, Kirsten Smith 2, Daesha Marshall 6.
3-point FG—Riverside 2 (Clifton, Pool), Hillside 1 (Williams). Rebounds—Riverside 36 (Pleasants 8), Hillside 41 (Marshall 12). Blocked shots—Riverside 9 (Jones 6), Hillside 7 (Marshall 5). Assists—Riverside 13 (Pleasants 4), Hillside 4 (Williams, Marshall, Lyons, Herring). Steals—Riverside 13 (Clifton 4), Hillside 24 (Williams 7). Turnovers—Riverside 32 (Clifton 7), Hillside 24 (McKennith 10). Technical fouls—Hillside bench 2 (Coach Ovester Grays 2).
Records—Riverside 9-13, 3-7 PAC-6; Hillside 18-3, 8-1.
Hillside (B) 71, Riverside 45
RIVERSIDE — Jordan McCain 4, Al Hughes 8, Mike Singletary 7, Joey Cabrera 6, Treyvon Blandshaw 3, Jordan Jones 10, Mike Tillotson 7.
HILLSIDE — D’Ontray Johnson 10, Robert “R.J.” Robinson Jr. 7, Malik Evans 13, Ty’Quon Reid 4, Marius McAllister 7, Reggie Young 2, De’Shon Self 12, Timothy Mangum 2, Korrin Wiggins 9, Emanuel McGirt Jr. 5.
3-point FG—Riverside 2 (Singletary, Hughes), Hillside 1 (Self). Rebounds—Riverside 33 (Jones 5, Jake Kusz 5), Hillside 36 (Reid 7). Blocked shots—Riverside 7 (Tillotson 4), Hillside 5 (McAllister 3). Assists—Riverside 8 (Kusz 2, McCain 2), Hillside 18 (Reid 4). Steals—Riverside 7 (McCain 2, Kusz 2), Hillside 20 (Robinson 3, McAllister 3). Turnovers—Riverside 27 (Hughes 9), Hillside 16 (Evans 4).
Records—Riverside 8-14, 2-8 PAC-6; Hillside 14-6, 6-3.