MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

February 9, 2013

Lady Hornets roll on: Hilldale romps past Keys on Senior Night

Senior Night was a night that typified Hilldale’s bright season on the girls side.

The Lady Hornets spotted Keys the first five points before posting 14 unanswered points and went on to a 60-34 victory on Senior Night at the Hilldale Event Center.

Part of that turnaround came from the defensive side. Hilldale held the Lady Cougars to just eight more points in the first half after their initial outburst. Keys had more turnovers (15) than shots (13) in the half to trail at intermission 40-13.

“Our defense had a lot to do with our victory tonight,” said Hilldale coach Scott Hensley. “They communicated with each other well, moving while the ball’s in the air and we’re getting better all the time.”

Keys got a little breather in the third quarter as they stepped up their defensive effort,  forcing the Lady Hornets to commit eight turnovers in the quarter and limiting them to just one field goal. At one point, the Lady Cougars had knocked the deficit to 20 points at 42-22.

But Hilldale, enjoying their best season in over a decade at 15-7, went 8-of-11 from the free throw line in the quarter, outscored Keys eight to three over the last 3 1/2  minutes of the quarter to lead 50-25.

Madison Kaulay, one of three Hilldale seniors, recited a recurring theme of this year’s campaign.

“We’re more positive and playing more as a team this year,” she said. “I know from how I started three years ago, the change has been big. Coach Hensley is a really good coach.”

The core of the Hilldale turnaround will be back next year, and on Friday it also played into the team aspect with three players in double figures with Nicole Wright leading the way with 13 points while Hillary Calvert had 11 points and Destiny Riddle chipped in 10 points.

For the Lady Cougars (10-9) it was another verse in the same song that has troubled them all season long: keeping post player Sydni Rainbolt out of foul problems. She drew her second foul early in the second quarter, sat out a good portion of that quarter, and some of the third after getting her third foul shortly after intermission.

“She’s got to learn to play without fouling,’ said a disappointed Keys coach Mickey Duncan. “She hasn’t figured it out in 19 games and I don’t know if we’re going to get it figured out or not.”

Rainbolt scored those first five points of the game for the Lady Cougars and that was it for the night. Ali Nolan was the leading scorer for Keys with nine points.

The Lady Hornets travel to Catoosa on Monday for their regular season finale before the playoffs get underway next weekend. Keys will be home to Oologah on Monday.

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