A high-energy back-and-forth game on Friday night ended with the Hilldale Hornets (11-3)defeating the visiting Catoosa Indians (7-6) by a final score of 65-59.
“That was a good game,” said Hornets coach Scott Hensley, talking about the level of energy and effort by both teams.
The opening basket of the game, a 3-pointer by Ty O’Neal followed by an amazing assist from Brayson Lawson to Sean Lester showed the hosts came ready to play. O’Neal scored 10 of his team’s 14 first-quarter points to give the Hornets the two-point advantage going into the second quarter with the score 14-12.
The close score continued with the Hornets (11-3) going into the locker room at halftime with a 27-26 lead.
Catoosa’s Gavin Phillips caught fire in the third quarter, scoring his team’s first nine points of the second half. He finished the night with 21 as his teammate J Coons added 17. They were both hot from behind the 3-point line as the Hornets struggled to slow them down. His shot with 1:15 left in the third tied the game at 41 and soon, the Hornets would find themselves trailing 44-41.
That’s when Hilldale’s Brayson Lawson hit a basket at the buzzer to make the score 44-43 going into the fourth quarter. O’Neal’s basket to start the fourth got the Hornets the lead for good.
T.J. Maxwell led all scorers with 22 points, 14 of which came in key moments in the second half. O’Neal scored 15. Hunter Parson was held scoreless in the first half, but finished the night with 13 points, all of which came in clutch moments.
Catoosa, which lost by two to Fort Gibson at home Tuesday, fell to 7-6.
“Catoosa, their team is made up of men. They play tough. They play hard. They are coached well. I have nothing but respect for those guys, “said Hensley. “We face tough competition in this conference night after night.”
The Hornets will next play in the Old Fort Classic starting Thursday.
Hilldale 62, Catoosa 42
The Lady Hornets (7-7) trailed 9-0 out of the gate. Makayla Williams hit a 3 to end the drought and Hilldale dropped seven of its next nine points from the free-throw line to trail by only 14-13 after one quarter.
That free throw shooting would continue for Hilldale as they went 13 of 15 from the free throw line in the first half and led 24-20 at the break.
Consequently, Catoosa (5-8)was in foul trouble early and it allowed the Lady Hornets to play an aggressive style of offense, combined with a trap defense. This helped Hilldale to dominate the third quarter, scoring 22 points to only 8 for Catoosa.
Two starters for the Lady Indians fouled out and Hilldale took advantage of the free throw opportunities,ending up 27-of-40 from the line. Madi Folsom led Hilldale and all scorers with 17 points. Mariah Maxwell came off the bench and added 12 points. She was all over the court, hustling and making plays. Makayla Williams also scored in double figures with 11.
“Sixty-seven percent isn’t great but it’s better than we’ve shot recently and it was good to get to the line and nice to see us playing aggressively,” said Hilldale coach Cliff Warford.