Two 3-pointers helped change the course of the HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational girls’ basketball championship.
Hillside junior Jakelbi Lewis sank consecutive triples to give the Hornets their first lead of the second half. She had missed five straight before connecting in Hillside’s 57-49 victory over Southeast Raleigh on Wednesday at Broughton High School. It is the Bulldogs’ first loss in a season that started with an 11-game winning streak.
“I think they fought hard during this game,” said Southeast Raleigh coach Nicole Meyers of the matchup between two of the top teams in the Triangle. “I think there were a lot of mental lapses throughout the course of the game.”
The Bulldogs (11-1) led by 12 in the second quarter before Hillside cut its deficit to five by halftime.
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While an even-scoring attack highlighted Southeast Raleigh’s efforts, the Hornets (12-1) were powered by 6-foot-2 junior forward Elisia Grissett. The tournament’s most valuable player finished with a game-high 30 points. She tied a tournament record for most free throws made, finishing 16-of-19 from the line.
After Lewis’ big shots gave Hillside an edge it wouldn’t surrender, Grissett made 10 of 12 from the line in the final minutes of the game.
Hillside coach Ovester Grays also switched from man defense to zone down the stretch, further throwing off the Bulldogs. And when Lewis made the first 3, her teammates knew to get the ballback to her on the wing on the next possession.
“Once they saw she hit one, they went back to her,” Grays said. “(That is) good basketball IQ.”
Southeast Raleigh’s Kia Abrams led the Bulldogs with 11 points, the only player to finish in double figures for her team.
Southeast Raleigh guard Jada McMillian won most outstanding player honors.
Lewis’ first 3-pointer: Lewis entered the final period without any points. At the 4:37 mark of the frame, she drained her first 3. About 20 seconds later, she hit the next triple that, try as they might, the Bulldogs didn’t have an answer for.
Three who mattered
Jada McMillian, Southeast Raleigh: She led her team with three assists, looking inside to get around Hillside’s defense. She added eight points and two steals.
Kia Abrams, Southeast Raleigh: Bulldogs’ leading scorer.
Elisia Grissett, Hillside: The first time she helped get her team back in the game was in the second quarter. The Bulldogs trailed 13-7 after one, and Grissett scored 13 points in the second. She raced out in front of transition to become unstoppable at the basket.
By the numbers
24: Southeast personal fouls
8: Southeast Raleigh’s Tamia Davis’ game-best defensive rebounds
12: Largest Southeast Raleigh lead
29: Hillside free throw attempts. It made 23.
Most valuable player: Elisia Grissett, Hillside
Most outstanding player: Jada McMillian, Southeast Raleigh
Jada Craig, Winston-Salem Prep; Kelly Funderburk, Leesville Road; Kayla Jones, Williamston Riverside; Elle Hepburn, Apex; Angel Rizor, East Wake; Zaria Rodgers, Durham Riverside; Alex Scruggs, Trinity Christian Academy; Torrey Sharp, North Pitt.
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan