Hillside’s girls used a stifling defense and speed and quickness to overpower Riverside 71-53 in PAC-6 Conference basketball action Friday night.
The win keeps the Hornets (8-1, 4-0) undefeated in the conference and extends their winning streak to seven games. The Pirates (9-2, 2-1) dropped their first game since a 76-41 loss to a club team from Australia on Dec. 2.
In the boys’ game, the winless Hornets hung tough before being overcome down the stretch to fall to Riverside 67-55. The Pirates (9-3, 3-0) rallied from a five-point deficit late in the third quarter with a 12-0 run to retake the lead for good.
Junior guard A.J. Davis led Riverside with 12 points, including 10 straight during the streak.
Hillside girls too much
Hillside 6-foot-2 junior forward Elisia Grissett was unstoppable, recording a double-double of 30 points – 19 in the first half – 10 rebounds and three blocks.
While Riverside focused on Grissett’s inside presence, guards Jakelbi Lewis and Jessica Wright were taking care of business from the perimeter.
Wright scored 20 points, including four 3-pointers in the third period to thwart any Riverside comeback attempt.
“This is an important win for us early in phase one before Christmas as we try to get better as a team for the second half,” Hillside coach Ovester Grays said. “This is a learning phase for us right now. They are a good team, and I’m sure when we go to their place, they will be a much improved team.”
Both squads came out like heavyweight prizefighters in the first period, dealing blow for blow. Neither led by more than two points, while the lead changed hands seven times before Hillside made its run trailing 14-13 with less than two minutes left in the period.
The Hornets reeled off 16 straight points to take at a 29-14 lead with six minutes remaining in the first half.
Hillside continued to pour it on, as Grissett outscored the entire Pirates team in the second quarter 13-8, and 19 for the half, to lead Hillside to a commanding 42-22 halftime margin.
“Our team defense improved in that second quarter,” Grays said. “The team really stepped it up, and I’m hoping it was all defense when I look at the tape.”
Sluggish Pirates rally
Hillside played arguably its best and hardest game of the season but couldn’t keep the Pirates off the boards when it counted.
Riverside’s rally was mostly second and sometimes third chances on the boards, as a tired Hillside team could only look on.
Forward Amiyr Mohamed led the Hornets (0-9, 0-3) with 12 points.