Lady Tigers run away from Hillcrest for second straight area title

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, February 6, 2024

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Straughn rode a fast offensive start and a strong defensive performance to a 48-12 win in the 3A Area 2 girls’ championship game against Hillcrest-Evergreen on Monday, Feb. 5.

Ora Hall splits two Hillcrest defenders on her way to the hoop for two. Hall finished with 16 points for Straughn and was named the tournament MVP.

The Lady Tigers pushed their season record to 19-7 with their second straight area title. The Lady Jaguars fell to 8-14 on the year.

“We came out hot in the first half. We worked our offense, and our shots fell right from the start. We did have a slower second half but played some of the best defense I’ve seen all year. These girls have worked hard this season to get to where we’re at and deserve every bit of this area championship win. We will continue to work and get better at practice this week to prepare for our sub-regional game on Friday. Good luck to Hillcrest as they head into their playoff game as well,” SHS Head Coach Calen Lowery said.

Ashlyn Kiser gave Hillcrest an early 1-0 lead with a free throw. Ora Hall followed with a jumper, and Bryleigh McBride gave Straughn a 5-1 lead with a three. Allyx Williamson extended the margin to 10-1 on a jumper and three with 4:20 to go in the opening period. McBride then went one-of-two at the line, and Hall buried her second triple for a 14-1 lead after one.

Blakeley Smith fends off several Lady Jaguars during a drive to the basket. Smith earned seven points in the Lady Tigers’ win.

Williamson started the scoring in the second period with a basket. Blakeley Smith converted a three-point play, while Hall made back-to-back baskets and surged to a 23-1 lead with 4:46 left in the first half. Sonija Evans snapped the Lady Jaguars’ scoreless drought with a free throw. Maddie Williamson got on the board with a bucket as McBride had a three-point play at the 1:57 mark. A. Williamson went off the glass for two, while Jayla Williams made two free throws. The Lady Tigers took a 30-4 lead at the break.

Hall led off the second half with a pair from the line and sank a three for a 35-4 cushion. Arreon Lopez made Hillcrest’s first field goal of the night with 4:21 remaining in the third period. A. Williamson added a layup as Smith notched four points and saw Straughn take a 41-10 lead after three.

With a running clock in effect, Annlee Wise hit a three in the fourth. Hall delivered a nifty drive to the hoop with 3:03 left in the game. Williams then scored the only two points of the final period for the Lady Jaguars. Wise made a bucket in the final seconds as the Lady Tigers celebrated their area title.

Allyx Williamson brings the ball down the floor for Straughn as Taliyah Jervis defends for Hillcrest.

Hall was named tournament MVP and led Straughn with 16 points. A. Williamson also earned a double-digit performance with 11 points, while McBride and Smith each scored seven. Wise earned five, and M. Williamson rounded out the scoring with two. Lopez led Hillcrest with six points, and Williams had four.

The All-Tournament Team is as follows:

  • Ora Hall – Straughn (Tournament MVP)
  • Bryleigh McBride – Straughn
  • Allyx Williamson – Straughn
  • Arreon Lopez – Hillcrest
  • Khloe Clark – Hillcrest

“Last year, I was out for my ACL but was still excited for the team. We focused on shutting down points on the defensive end tonight. Whether our offense worked or not, we limited their points, and that was exciting. I feel we have a really good chance at going further this year,” Hall said.

Straughn will host a sub-regional game against the Area 3 runner-up on Friday, Feb. 9, at 6 p.m.