Southern Durham has certainly shown the best way to recover after losing a heartbreaker to a county rival on the basketball court.
Start a winning streak, and then get revenge.
Antonio Daye Jr. led the way with 20 points Saturday night as the Spartans dominated down the stretch for a 68-56 win on the Hornets’ court that was their third straight victory.
Hillside (5-4), of the PAC-6 4A, had won the teams’ first meeting of the season 86-83 in overtime on Dec. 2 at Southern, but since then has suffered four straight losses in boys’ basketball.
Southern, of the Big 8 3A, improved to 5-2.
While the boys’ contest was a hard-nosed rivalry squabble that was nip-and-tuck through three and a half quarters, the girls’ game was a blowout. Hillside improved to 6-0 while Southern fell to 0-7 as the Hornets rolled 71-22 with the clock running the entire second half.
Both Southern teams will host conference rival J.F. Webb on Tuesday night. Hillside’s next games are on Friday at county and conference rival Riverside.
South Carolina signee Elisia Grissett had 20 points and six assists to lead four Hornets in double figures.
Jakelbi Lewis added 13 points for Hillside, which has been 4A East regional final runner-up each of the past two seasons, has won nine straight games in the series and 24 of their last 26 meetings.
“Defensively, we were much better than we were the first time we played them a week and a half ago,” Hillside coach Ovester Grays said. “We’ve had three games to work on that. It was a matter of more effort, and being more in sync and working as a unit. We had a lot more runouts because of it.”
Michaela Thompson had 12 points and Hydiah Omar 10 for Hillside.
“We were talking on both defense and offense,” Grissett said. “I’m working on hitting pull-ups and getting the ball to my teammates faster.”
Jonisha McDaniel had 11 points as the Spartans lost their ninth straight. The Hornets had also defeated Southern 63-39 on Dec. 2 on the Spartans’ court.
Hillside had led only 12-7 after a McDaniel jumper with 5:05 left in the first quarter before the Hornets went on a 10-0 run.
It was 24-10 after the period, but the Hornets outscored the visitors 30-0 in the second to get the running clock started.
“We had too many turnovers,” Southern coach Teddy McKoy said. “And we have to work on our team defense. But Hillside played real well, and that was probably our worst game of the season.”
Jomaru Brown added 14 points and Taron Beauford 11 as the Spartans got revenge.
Xavier Young led Hillside with 17 points while Derrick Wiley chipped in 14.
“We had more bodies this time,” Southern coach Kendrick Hall said. “We got valuable minutes out of Jomaru and from Jalen Greene. I was pretty satisfied with the second half. Coming over here and winning is always a good thing, and it’s never easy.”
Neither team led by more than six points until Beauford’s layup with 2:58 to go put the Spartans up 57-51. Hillside was never again closer than six back, and the final margin was Southern’s largest lead.
“We just fought hard, executed and didn’t give up,” Daye said. “We’re playing together and playing hard for four quarters now.”
Hillside led 44-43 going into the final period, but hit just five of 19 free-throw attempts in the last eight minutes.
“Free throws killed us,” Hillside coach Thurman Jordan said. “We had too many missed opportunities to score, and we’ve just got to get more confidence at the free-throw line. They made plays down the stretch that we didn’t.”