Grove 51, Hilldale 40
Mason Jefferies led the Grove Ridgeruners with 12 points and a 36-point burst in the second half to beat the host Hilldale Lady Hornets 51-40 at the Hilldale Tournament on Friday night.
The Lady Hornets play Grove at 4 p.m. today in the third-place game.
”I am very proud of our girls and the way we played,” Hilldale coach Scott Hensley. “Grove has a very good team and some tough post players and we had a hard time matching up with them tonight.”
Julie Plunkett popped a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left in the game to make things interesting and pull the Lady Hornets (2-2) within 47-40. But Hilldale was unable to get any closer to the Ridgerunners. The Lady Hornets were in the game until the game’s final minute when the Ridgeruners ran off 14-5 run.
Despite a valiant effort led by Leah Gragg’s 10 points and freshman Katie Kirkhart’s eight points, the Lady Hornets couldn’t overcome cold shooting. Shooting just 23 percent from the field, the Lady Hornets dug a hole that they couldn’t overcome.
“When you play as many freshman and sophomores as we do sometimes, you’re just going to have those nights and struggle in places,” Hensley said. “Defensively, we played really hard and kept after them all night.”
A tenacious Lady Hornet defense that forced 20 turnovers and Jessica Vanschuyer’s 14 rebounds kept the Hilldale in the game. But it only connected on three shots from the field in the final quarter.
Shaking off some offensive rust, Casady Miles stepped up and drained a 3-pointer to start a run for the Lady Hornets that put them up 13-11 with 2:56 to go in the second quarter. Kirkhart nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing with just under 17 seconds and the Lady Hornets led 18-15 at halftime.
After that short burst of offense, the Lady Hornets again found points hard to come by until Gragg chipped in seven of her 10 points in the final two quarters.
Grove had two other players finish in double figures with Emily Cook scoring 11 points while Karah Bassett added 10.
In other Hilldale tournament games, Stilwell’s boys and Morris’ girls advanced to the finals with their wins. Stilwell beat Grove 49-38, while Morris defeated Roland 55-50.
In Stilwell’s win, 6-foot-9 Matt Lea had 13 points and Chase Littlejohn scored 10. Robin Hicks led Morris with 17, while Sara Crenshaw had 14 and Bailey King added 13. Grove’s boys and Roland’s girls play for third place at 5:30 p.m. today.
In the consolation bracket, Rejoice Christian’s boys beat Roland JV 65-57 in overtime as Taylor Wise had 21 points, while Stilwell eliminated Checotah 42-34 despite the Lady Wildcats’ Kelsea Johnson scoring 14 and KIley Woodsward adding 12.