, Muskogee, OK

March 2, 2014

Hilldale ends 16-year area skid, rallies past Sallisaw

By Patrick Kays
Phoenix Correspondent

— EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier account of 1991 was incorrect.

FORT GIBSON – Huge runs once again helped the Hilldale Lady Hornets stay alive in the postseason as they overcame an early double-digit deficit to down the Sallisaw Lady Diamonds 64-60 at Harrison Field House on Saturday to advance to the Class 4A Area Tournament for the first time since 1998.

“It feels good. It feels nice,” said Hilldale coach Scott Hensley. “It was a hard fought win and I am proud as heck of my girls.”

Strong shooting from the Lady Diamonds (13-14) helped string together an early 15-3  lead. A 12-6 run to start the second gave Sallisaw their largest lead at 32-17.

But Hilldale came up with its own run to come off the canvas.

Hillary Calvert’s pair of free throws with 3:17 was the first of 11 unanswered points heading to the break which cut Sallisaw’s lead  to four, 32-28, heading into the locker room.

The Lady Hornets (17-7) opened the third quarter with a 13-5 run to gain a 41-37 lead at the four-minute mark in the third. The lead was short lived as Sallisaw went on a 14-4 run to go up 51-45 to end the third.

“Its not easy coming back like that,” said Hensley. “That takes a lot.”

Kenzie Mize’s 3 to start the fourth, followed by strong shooting from Katie Kirkhart and Calvert, gave the Hornets the momentum they needed as they rallied to regain the lead and held it by hitting their free throws, converting 10 attempts in teh final period.

Mize led the Lady Hornets with 18 points while Calvert finished the day with 15 points with Casady Mills pouring in 10 points.

“Making area was one of our goals,” said Calvert. “We have been playing great as a team. We have made it to area and we are not done yet.”

Four Lady Diamonds scored in double digits. Kristen Fullbright lead the team with 16 points while Bailey Oberste had 15, Taten Hyde had 12 and Bailey Morgan had 10.