In a thrilling PAC-6 Conference boys basketball game Friday night, Jordan senior Cheo Craig hit three free throws with no time left on the clock to give the Falcons a 58-57 come-from-behind win. The victory keeps the Falcons in third place and a game behind Riverside and Northern.
Earlier in the night, Hillside’s girls extended their winning streak to 13 games with a 46-38 win over Jordan. Hornets stars Elisia Grissett and Jakelbi Lewis combined for 28 of the 46 points to help keep their team (14-1, 5-0) undefeated in the conference and in first place.
Jordan (8-8, 4-2) lost its fifth straight game.
Girls overcome cold shooting
Hillside hasn’t lost since a 48-40 defeat to Millbrook on Nov. 28, in which the Hornets missed 22 free throws.
The team was coming off an impressive HighSchoolOT.com Invitational with a championship title in hand.
“We lost by one (in the Invitational) last year, and we hate coming in second,” said Grissett who finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. “This time we worked really hard because we wanted to come in first.”
Both teams played at a frenzied but cold-shooting pace in the first half. But it was Hillside’s sweltering defense that made the difference.
The Hornets forced the Falcons into bad shots and numerous turnovers. After trailing 16-15 with five minutes left in the first half, Hillside reeled off eight straight points before settling for a 25-20 halftime lead.
But the Falcons were buoyed junior forward Liz Layne, who scored 16 of her 20 points in the second half. Jordan tied the game at 28 with five minutes left in the third period.
After a seesaw affair, Grissett began to use her size – with six of the Hornets 10 points – to help give them a 35-30 lead.
Layne scored Jordan’s first seven points in the final period to close the gap to four with 5:46 left. But Hillside went into its four-corner stall with the 5-foot-2 Lewis playing the role of Phil Ford, and that was all she wrote.
Hillside coach Ovester Grays said he wasn’t concerned about an ugly win.
“No team gets on a roll and win 10 or 15 straight games in a row without struggling,” he said. “Teams always give us their best shot, so an ugly win is fine.”
Hornet boys lose heartbreaker
After losing its first 11 games, Hillside (2-14, 0-5) had won two of its past three heading into Friday’s contest.
The Hornets played arguably their best defensive game of the season, frustrating Jordan with second- and third-chance shots.
But the Falcons (12-4, 4-2) kept chipping away at a 10-point third-quarter deficit to take a 46-44 lead heading into the final period.
Hillside retook the lead and built it to five with 50 seconds left. Jordan’s Taqwain Bell knocked down two free throws to cut it to three before teammate Kaeson Mayfield was fouled from behind the arc with 4.6 seconds remaining.
Mayfield made one of the three free throws, but after Jordan had two missed putbacks, Craig was fouled from 3-point range with no time remaining.