As the varsity basketball season winds down, Hillside’s girls show no signs of slowing down.
The Lady Hornets (19-1, 9-0 PAC-6) have won 18 straight games after Friday’s 60-20 shellacking of conference opponent Cardinal Gibbons and hold a two game lead in the standings. Hillside, which won the girls bracket of the HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational, hasn’t lost since Nov. 28 at Raleigh Millbrook, 48-40.
The Lady Hornets had a rematch against Riverside Tuesday (past print deadline). Hillside defeated the Lady Pirates 73-53 in their first matchup. The team then hosts Jordan Feb. 9 for “senior night” before traveling to Roxboro Person Feb. 12.
Jordan girls rally past Northern
The Lady Falcons used a 15-0 run in the third quarter to overtake Northern and cruise to a 62-44 PAC-6 win Friday night.
The victory keeps Jordan (11-9, 6-3) in third place behind Hillside and Riverside. The Lady Knights (7-12, 3-5) lost their third straight game and remain in fourth place.
Northern guard Rhianna Council terrorized Jordan in the first half, scoring 19 of the Lady Knights’ 30 first-half points, including their final eight in the first quarter.
Jordan forward Ni’Amoni Bagley came off the bench to give her team a spark. With the Lady Falcons trailing by six in the second period and Northern seemingly on a roll, Bagley hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cool the momentum.
But the story in the second half was Jordan’s defense. The team rolled out 15 straight points to take a 36-30 lead, led by junior forward Liz Layne’s seven points, and contained Council to just two points in the quarter. Northern didn’t score until 1:48 left.
“I told them (at halftime) they were better than they were playing,” Jordan coach Ty Cox said. “They had to make a conscientious decision how they want to finish this season off. Intensity was the key.”
The Lady Falcons kept up the pressure in the fourth, creating steals and dominating in the paint, and Northern never threatened.
Jordan forward Talia Barnes led the team with 11 points. Council finished with 26, but only seven in the second half.
Knights take charge late
In last Friday’s boys game at Jordan, Northern used its size and quickness to pull away in the fourth quarter for a 78-67 win.
Four Knights scored in double figures: Jalen Johnson (22), Erick Stokes (21), Timothy Bell (20) and Emmett Tilley (10).
With the score tied at 50 heading into the fourth period, the lead seesawed for the first three minutes until Northern went ahead 61-57 lead with 5:05 remaining.
The Knights never trailed again as they built the lead to as many as 12, helped by 16 free throws compared to Jordan’s five. Bell, who also had five blocks, Johnson, Stokes and Tilley combined for 24 of Northern’s 28 fourth-quarter points..
The two teams played an even first half. Jordan held a 20-18 lead, with guard Mikal Gaylord collecting 11 of those points. He finished with 19.
But it was Northern forward Eric Stokes’ turn in the second period. Stokes hit 13 points, including three 3-pointers. The Knights scored the final five points to take a 39-34 lead into the locker room.
The victory kept the Knights (14-5, 6-2 PAC) in second place in the PAC-6 standings behind Riverside (14-5, 6-1), while Jordan (14-6, 5-4) dropped into fourth place, one game behind East Chapel Hill (15-4, 6-3).
Coming into this week, Northern was one-half game behind Riverside, which had played just seven conference game while most PAC-6 teams had played eight. Riverside won’t be up to date until it plays three games in four nights next week. That week includes a Northern-Riverside showdown on Wednesday, Feb. 10.