It will be Raleigh versus Durham in the girls semifinals of the 2014 HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational.
Durham Hillside defeated Knightdale 63-43 in the opening game at Cary Academy on Friday morning. Hornets guard Elisia Grissett scored a game-high 22 points and recorded four blocks.
Hillside will meet Broughton, which knocked off Athens Drive 84-74, in the first semifinal game Saturday at approximately 1:30 p.m.
N.C. State recruit Kaila Ealey – one of three Wolfpack recruits in the tournament – was unstoppable with 32 points in the Capitals’ win.
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N&O No. 1-ranked Millbrook rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to defeat East Wake 62-53 in overtime. The Wildcats will go up against Durham Riverside, which beat Williamston Riverside 56-50 in the final girls game.
“I saw too much turkey and stuffing and too many pies,” Pirates coach Alicia Jones said about the team’s sluggish start. “Kids eat everything and sleep all day” during the holidays.
Both teams’ offenses struggled throughout the game. Durham Riverside led 14-8 after the first quarter and 29-26 at halftime behind junior guard Zaria Rogers’ 10 points.
Neither squad could gain much momentum in the third. The Pirates continued to hold on to a slim lead despite N.C. State recruit Kayla Jones getting more dominant in the post and senior guard Takwana Bland keeping the defense honest with shots from the perimeter.
Jones and Bland combined for 13 of the Knights’ 15 points in the quarter to trail by two heading into the fourth.
“We came here today believing we could play with anybody,” Williamston Riverside coach Kirby Maness said. “We don’t care what classification they are.”
Jones, who finished with 17 points, tied the game at 45 with 4:33 left, but Aminata Johnson gave the Pirates the lead back. Durham Riverside upped its defensive pressure and held the Knights to just five points the rest of the game.
Ajeya Murden-Boggan led the Pirates with 13 points, but it was senior center Mone’ Jones’ defense in the quarter, blocking two shots that could have tied the game, that made the difference.
“We have to start strong in the first half (against Millbrook),” Jones said. “We have to take care of the ball. Defense wins ball games.”