4-A GIRLS: Hillside gets it done in the clutch
An immovable object and an unstoppable force double-teamed Hillside on Friday, but, amazingly, spectacularly, the Hornets pulled out a 44-43 win over Southern Alamance with 3 seconds remaining to move into the Elite 8 of the 4-A basketball playoffs.
“I thought whoever had the ball last would win the game,” said an emotional Hillside coach Ovester Grays.
It was Tykyrah Williams, Hillside’s 5-11 senior shooting guard/power forward, who notched the unlikeliest of shots — a hook-like jumper over the heads of a dominating Patriots defense that owned the interior all night.
“He said we’ve gotta go for it, as soon as we get it, get it in. So I went for it. I wasn’t scared at all,” said Williams, her voice still trembling minutes after her winning shot.
Grays said the Hornets got a break at 2:15 of the final period when Shaylen Burnett, the Patriots’ unstoppable force, fouled out. The 5-8 senior guard was the game’s leading scorer with 26 points, stealing the ball, grabbing rebounds at both ends of the court and making repeated, swift, effortless drives through the Hillside defense.
“She’s their heart and soul, no doubt about it. She played like a champion,” Grays said
Southern Alamance forced the Hornets to take low-percentage shots and snapped lanes closed like jaws of death when Hillside players tried to enter the post. April Kelly, a 6-1 senior center, was the Patriots’ immovable object.
With 13 seconds to go, Southern Alamance shed its zone defense, which stymied Hillside most of the night, to go with a full-court press in an attempt to protect its one-point lead.
“Once they pressed us and got their two guards out there, Tykyrah can make some plays,” Grays said. “She made a good agility move to get around Kelly.”
The winning basket gave Williams 16 points, tops for Hillside.
Justine Lyon, a 5-9 junior guard, solved the Kelly blockade earlier, grabbing an offensive rebound and then hitting a nifty fadeaway jumper at 1:12 of the final period to bring the Hornets to within a point at 43-42.
Grays had his team ice the ball for more than a minute to close the third period and to open the fourth, but the Hornets both times failed to score when they made their move.
“Two of our top kids had foul trouble,” and the Hornets were struggling with the zone defense, Grays said. “I was trying to pull them out and get into a man-to-man defense. I don’t know if I would do it again. Well, yes I would — we won the game.”
NO. 5 HILLSIDE 44, NO. 4 SOUTHERN ALAMANCE 43
Hillside 8 17 10 9 — 44
Southern Alamance 11 7 13 12 — 43
HILLSIDE — Tykyrah Williams 16, Justine Lyon 13, Zuri White 13, Elisia Grissett 2.
SOUTHERN ALAMANCE — Shaylen Burnett 26, Kelsey Durham 6, April Kelly 4, Taylor Blackwell 2, Jenna Haugle 2, Alexis McGaugh 2, Kelby Smith 1.
Records — Hillside 22-5; Southern Alamance 23-3.