Buzzer-beater is too little, too late as Hillside falls 58-57
Hillside senior Tykyrah Williams buried a bucket at the buzzer against Southeast Raleigh in the 4-A girls’ Eastern Regional championship game at Crown Coliseum on Saturday.
It was a two-point bucket.
Fifth-seeded Hillside needed a 3-pointer and lost 58-57.
“It was a great game between two physical teams, two aggressive teams,” Southeast Raleigh coach Nicole Meyers said of the state semifinal win. “It was fitting that it came down to the way it came down at the end.”
Williams initially cheered after she beat the buzzer. Williams thought Hillside was down two points and that her basket had tied the game, Hillside guard Justine Lyon said. Lyon said she thought the same thing.
The reality is that the second-seeded Bulldogs, not the Hornets, are moving on to play for the 4-A state championship at Reynolds Coliseum on Saturday.
About halfway through the fourth quarter, Hillside senior Zuri White was called for an offensive foul.
Durham Public Schools athletics director Larry McDonald gave one of the refs an earful about that call.
It was White’s fifth foul, sending her to the bench for the rest of the contest.
“That was pretty significant,” Hillside coach Ovester Grays said. “She was obviously effective on the boards with 14 rebounds.”
This was White’s only season at Hillside. She transferred from Northern and this season was a top-three scorer for Hillside.
White had 8 points when she fouled out, and Hillside was leading by two points.
Lyon shouldered the scoring burden for Hillside. She finished the game with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
“If she’s going to have 24, that’s fine, but we’re going to limit everybody else,” Meyers said.
Lyon, a junior, is getting serious recruiting attention from Princeton, Harvard and Yale, Grays said.
Jade Phillips led Southeast Raleigh with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Tiffany McCarter (17 points) and Amber Richardson (11 points) also scored in double figures for the Bulldogs.
But the reason the Bulldogs get to play for the state title is because they locked down on the Hornets, Southeast Raleigh’s Alexus Hicks said.
“Defense wins ball games,” Hicks said. “It’s all about defense.”
It’s about valuing the basketball, Grays said.
“It was that turnover column that made all the difference in the world,” Grays said.
Hillside had 18 turnovers; Southeast Raleigh had 14. That’s not a huge disparity. But Southeast Raleigh was able to score 18 points off turnovers, while Hillside generated just eight points in that category.
Meyers said she anticipated a Hillside team that would play gritty basketball. She said her hope was that the Bulldogs would have some bite, too. They did, she said.
Things were intense on the court. Williams and McCarter kept yapping at each other.
Williams started at small forward for Elisia Grissett, who was out of the lineup with strep throat, Grays said.
“We never adjusted to that,” Grays said.
Hillside freshman Jakelbi Lewis (8 points, 2 assists) said high-stakes high school basketball is a grind unlike what she dealt with last year in middle school.
“Very nerve wracking,” Lewis said.
Lewis was rock solid all season as Hillside’s starting point guard, Grays said.
“I don’t know what we’ve created at Hillside that if you don’t win championships you’re quite disappointed,” Grays said.
Hillside won both the regular-season championship in the PAC-6 and the conference tournament.
The Hornets’ loss to Southeast Raleigh was their first time dealing with defeat in a while.
“Disappointed, but certainly proud. We’re going to appreciate it one day,” Grays said. “We’re going to be stronger next year.”
Lyon seconded that.
“It’s disappointing,” Lyon said. “I think later on we’ll look back on the season and be proud of what we did.”
But it really hurts right now, she said through tears.
NOTES — White and Lyon represented Hillside on the 4-A Eastern Regional all-tournament team. McCarter, Richardson and tournament most valuable player Phillips represented Southeast Raleigh. Millbrook’s Dazia Powell made the cut, too.
No. 2 SOUTHEAST RALEIGH 58, No. 5 HILLSIDE 57
NCHSAA Girls’ 4-A East Region Championship
Hillside 17 9 10 21 — 57
Southeast Raleigh 14 9 16 19 — 58
HILLSIDE — Jakelbi Lewis 8, Tykyrah Williams 11, Brittany Powell 0, Justine Lyon 24, Zuri White 8, Mya Webb 6, Amanda Lawrence 0, Victoria Powell 0, Khara Herring 0.
SOUTHEAST RALEIGH — Alexis Wade 0, Jade Phillips 24, Ashlyn Jackson 0, Alexus Hicks 6, Amber Richardson 11, Taiyana Hill 0, Cheria Turrentine 0, Cherelle Turrentine 0, Tiffany McCarter 17, Sashanelle Grey 0.
3-point FG — Hillside 3-9 (Webb 2-2, Williams 1-4); SE Raleigh 2-9 (Hicks 1-4, Richardson 1-5). Rebounds — Hillside 39 (White 14, Lyon 10, Lawrence 6); SE Raleigh 30 (Phillips 12, Hill 5, Jackson 4, McCarter 4). Assists — Hillside 4 (Lewis 2, Lyon 2); SE Raleigh 12 (Hicks 5, Hill 3). Steals — Hillside 7 (White 4, Williams 2); SE Raleigh 9 (Phillips 3, McCarter 2). Blocks — Hillside 0; SE Raleigh 3 (Richardson 2, Phillips 1). Turnovers — Hillside 18 (White 4, Williams 4, Lyon 3, Lewis 3); SE Raleigh 14 (Phillips 3, Hicks 3). FG — Hillside 21-51 (.412); SE Raleigh 21-51 (.412). FT — Hillside 12-20 (.600), SE Raleigh 14-22 (.636).
Records — Hillside 24-6, Southeast Raleigh 26-2.