Southeast Raleigh is still undefeated after a 67-63 win over visiting 4A girls basketball powerhouse Hillside on Monday.
The Bulldogs, ranked No. 2 in the N&O area, led 54-45 heading into the fourth quarter, and seemed to be in control of the game. But No. 1 Hillside, whose only losses this year are to out-of-state teams, made a late charge to cut the lead down to six with 1:06 remaining. They eventually got things down to two points in the closing seconds.
After the Bulldogs failed to inbound the ball within five seconds, Hillside regained possession with 12 seconds remaining and a chance to win or tie the game. Instead of going to senior and South Carolina recruit Elisia Grissett, senior guard Jakelbi Lewis took the inbound pass and went straight into the paint, where she forced a tough and contested shot. It hit the iron and fell into the hands of the opponent, effectively ending the game.
“It was a reaction play,” said Hillside head coach Ovester Grays. “They didn’t take into account what we would normally do in this situation because we haven’t been in that situation. They kind of fell apart and get a little ragged.”
Grissett led all scorers with 30 points to go along with 13 rebounds, while Lewis added 12 points.
The game was a sloppy affair to start, with neither team getting into a rhythm thanks to foul calls that mostly benefitted Hillside. The Hornets found themselves in the bonus just four minutes into the game. Hillside attempted 39 free throws in the game, but only converted 25. They were 14 of 25 from the charity stripe in the first half, which prevented them from taking control of things.
“Close game. Good teams. You’ve got to make the easy shots,” said Grays.
Southeast Raleigh coach Nicole Meyers wasn’t happy with the number of fouls called on her team. Aside from the fact that Hillside went to the line 19 more times, Meyers was upset that the game never got into a real flow.
“It was frustrating,” said Meyers, “to have a great girls basketball match-up and neither team was allowed to have any type of continuity. In these types of games, you would hope that they would just let them play. I don’t think anyone got a real feel for what that game could have been.”
Southeast Raleigh was led by 19 points from junior point guard Jada McMillian. Sophomore guard Tamia Davis had 18, including four baskets from beyond the arc. She went 3 of 4 from 3-point range in the first quarter, but foul trouble limited her minutes the rest of the game.
The Southeast Raleigh boys upset Hillside 66-62 in overtime.
Hillside had a chance to win it in regulation, but Damon Sanders’ shot from the top of the key hit the left rim at the buzzer, sending things to overtime tied at 56-56.
In overtime, Southeast Raleigh senior Ericson Loveless carried the Bulldogs to victory. He scored on a layup to put the Bulldogs up 61-57, then came up with an offensive rebound that led to the game-clinching free throws by Sherman McLeod.
The loss snapped Hillside’s five-game winning streak.
“We came out flat,” said Hillside coach Thurman Jordan. “We fought back, but we missed free throws and took some bad shots. It happens.”
Hillside will be back in action on Friday when they travel to East Chapel Hill.