Williams leads Hillside to final

Staff WriterMarch 7, 2009 

— Asia Williams dominated in the paint during the second half.

She was the difference in Hillside's 57-47 victory over Fayetteville South View in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4-A Eastern Regionals at Rose High on Friday.

Williams scored nine of her 31 points in the fourth quarter for the Hornets (25-5).

"We moved people around and got Asia in the middle," Hillside coach Ovester Grays said. "That caused them to collapse."

The Hornets extended a two-point halftime lead, outscoring the Tigers 16-10 to go up by eight points at the end of the third quarter.

"We started off slow," Williams said. "We all settled in."

But South View coach Brent Barker said his girls did not panic.

"I don't think they ever gave up," he said. "They were tired. But I said, eight points, eight minutes."

South View senior guard Amber Calvin scored seven of her 21 points in the fourth quarter, preventing a blowout.

Most of those points came late in the quarter and from the free-throw line after Hillside focused on shutting her down.

"If we had five Ambers, they couldn't do it," Barker said.

Early on, Hillside didn't capitalize on an 8-3 turnover advantage in the first quarter.

And Calvin's 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer cut Hillside's lead to 15-14.

Hillside led 24-22 at halftime.

"I think we got off to a slow start offensively," said Grays, speaking highly of South View's 1-3-1 zone defense, which was effective until late in the first half. "It took us awhile to figure out how to operate against it."

In a game that was tightly fought in the first half, Grays had more than 20 minutes to scheme when South View (28-2) had a scare with 39.9 seconds left in the half.

Tigers junior guard Alya Shaw was fouled while looking to pass from near half court.

Shaw fell backward, landing on her back. She kicked in pain and was on the court for 20 minutes before emergency medical workers arrived and rolled her out on a stretcher.

"We were just talking about how we were going to attack that defense," said Grays, who took advantage of the break.

The Hornets scored eight straight points to start the second half, a margin they toyed with for the rest of the game.

Calvin made one last run with just over two minutes left in the game.

After sinking a pair of free throws, she came up with a steal and broke for a layup and drew a foul. Her three-point play cut Hillside's lead to 52-43, but it was as close as the Tigers would get.

At 7 p.m. today, Hillside will play Southeast Raleigh in the Eastern Regional final.

javier.serna@newsobserver.com or 919-836-4953

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