DURHAM — The Hillside varsity basketball teams have shared similar success this season.
Both were second in the PAC-6 Conference, earned No. 5 seeds in the 4A Mideast bracket and were set to host first-round playoff games.
Their seasons mirrored each other again Monday night as the girls ousted 14-seed Athens Drive 66-52 and the boys got the better of 14-seed Wakefield 64-49.
The Hornets’ home sweep means they will be on the road against Tri-9 Conference foes Wednesday – the girls at Holly Springs, while the boys will play at Green Hope.
“It’s just all about moving on,” said Hillside junior Malik Evans.
In the girls’ game, Athens Drive tried to negate Hillside’s speed by getting back on defense at the expense of going for offensive rebounds.
For the most part, it worked. The Jags trailed by 10 after each of the first three quarters.
But the Hornets (24-4) pulled away thanks to their work on the offensive glass. Hillside was led by Mylea McKennith’s 21 points, and Justine Lyons (nine points, 12 rebounds) and Jordyn Smith (five points, 12 rebounds) helped dominate the boards.
“The zone kind of slowed us down and made us think about it a little more. We got past it,” Smith said.
Coach Dayna Jordan’s first season at Athens ends at 14-13. The Jaguars’ leading scorer was Grace Hunter (21 points, 12 rebounds). Joy Hunter added 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The boys’ game saw Hillside (19-7) use a high-pressure defense to force the Wolverines (13-12) into several turnovers to start the game.
The Hornets got 15 points from Robert Robinson Jr. and also Evans. Marius McAllister added 12 for a balanced Hornets attack.
Hillside coach Crasten Davis praised his players for playing team ball.
Deshon Self came off the bench to grab a game-high six steals.
“We didn’t care about that stats and stuff tonight,” Evans said. “At this point in the season, you’ve got to trust your teammates.”
Wakefield was led by Ramone Addeley’s 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The girls’ second-round playoff game will likely have a 7 p.m. start time. The boys will likely play at 7:30.
“Once you get to the second or third round of the state playoffs … you know you’ve got to be ready to play. Anybody can beat you,” Hillside girls’ coach Ovester Grays said. “And of course, you can beat anybody too.”
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps