Three was the magic number for Hillside’s Derrick Wiley Tuesday night. And it helped to carry the Hornets to a 71-68 white-knuckle win over Jordan that came right down to the final shot of the game.
The Hornets were trailing Jordan for 14 ½ minutes, during which Jordan led by as many as 11 points when Taye Bell hit a bucket at 6:28 of the third period to go up 36-25. Bell had a game-high 28 points.
But Wiley nailed a 3-pointer to tie the game at 7:32 of the fourth period. He drained another one at 5:23 to give his team its first lead in 16 ½ minutes. And then things got even more interesting.
Jordan regained the lead, and the referees warned the players to stop jawboning one another. Hillside regained the lead, but Jordan recaptured it at 3:01 when Bell pumped in a basket to give the Falcons a 62-61 spread. But Traylen Warren went 2-for-2 at the free throw line at 2:48, Hillside took a 63-62 lead, and never relinquished it.
“We were a little out of sync early on. It’s a big rivalry game, so we knew they were going to come out with a lot of emotion on senior night, so once we settled down I thought we made a lot better decisions on the offensive end, and played a lot better on the defensive end,” said Hillside coach Thurman Jordan.
Hillside won the girls game 91-52 to remain a perfect 11-0 in PAC 6 4A play.
“We can be really good. Obviously we haven’t reached our full potential yet, but we’re improving as the season goes on,” said Hornets coach Ovester Grays.
Elisia Grissett had a game-high 33 points for the Hornets.
“They’re not oblivious to being undefeated. They’re more focused on the long-term goal,” Grays said. “This senior team has gone to two regional finals and one sectional final, so we’ve been two games away and one game away [from a state title game] over the last three years, so they will try to focus on making it back that far.”