CARY — The Green Hope girls beat Wakefield 46-34, but the Green Hope boys lost to Durham Hillside 38-34 Wednesday night in second-round North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A basketball playoff games.
The Green Hope girls will play Broughton on Friday. The Hillside boys will visit Pac-6 4A rival Durham Jordan.
Green Hope will be making its fourth consecutive trip to the third round of the playoffs. Senior Ashley Williams, who scored 22 points, including 15 during the second half, said such success has become the expectation.
“Green Hope girls’ athletics, winning conference, while it’s good for other schools, it’s just not held as a high honor here,” she said. “The banners they hang in our gym are only state championship banners. Green Hope holds a high expectation for their sports.”
Green Hope needed crisp fourth-quarter execution to survive. The Falcons entered the fourth leading by just five following Wakefield’s Krystal Mangum’s buzzer-beating 3 to end the third quarter.
Clutch free-throw shooting and solid ball-handling allowed the Falcons to hang on, as Green Hope withstood full-court pressure to take a 43-32 lead with 1 minute, 55 seconds remaining.
“That was a tough game, a tough team,” Green Hope coach Mike Robinson said. “We kind of persevered at the end, and made some free throws and handled the ball well at the end.”
Hillside’s Trevion Thompson, who had not scored during the game’s first 31 minutes, calmly swished two free throws with 31 seconds left to help the Hornets to their boys’ win.
“It was pressure,” Thompson said. “I knew they were big shots and I had to hit them. I just took my time, breathed, and let the rest handle itself.”
The Hornets left victorious despite falling into an 11-4 hole early and failing to convert a field goal during the third quarter, when the Falcons rallied from a four-point halftime deficit to take a 26-25 lead to the fourth quarter. The teams traded baskets throughout the final quarter, when the lead changed hands seven times, setting the stage for the heroics by Thompson.
“I’m proud of them,” Hillside coach Crasten Davis said. “That’s one of the best finishes we’ve had this season. And Green Hope didn’t make it easy. That’s perseverance.”