Hillgrove (7 1, 4 1 Region 4AAAAAA) found itself trailing by seven with less than 4 minutes to play in the game, and with McEachern (2 6, 2 2) in total control with its fullcourt pressure.
McEachern's struggles shooting in the first half, and going 0 for 6 on the free throw line in the first quarter, also attributed to its loss.
POWDER SPRINGS Just when it seemed like Hillgrove's chances of beating archrival McEachern was slim to none, the visiting Lady Hawks found a way to grind out a 42 41 victory inside Nike Air Force 1 Low Upstep Br
Lady Hawks get rivarly win they desired
"They made their free throws late, and we just made some mental mistakes and young mistakes," McEachern coach Phyllis Arthur said. "We'll get better with more playing time."
After making a defensive stop, Hillgrove came through again when Engram hit a layup with 1:47 left to play. Then, another defensive stop led to another pair of Pierce free throws for a 40 39 Hillgrove lead.
KlinTisha Martin hit a quick layup to give McEachern its lead back with a minute left, but Smith answered right back for Hillgrove, which ended up being enough for the win.
"This win feels amazing," said Hillgrove junior Mackenzie Engram, who had a double double of 19 points and Air Force 1 High Tops No Strap
for the rebuilding Lady Indians.
But the Lady Hawks didn't give up. Once they settled, they scored eight unanswered points down the stretch six of which came from the free throw line.
The Lady Hawks forced McEachern to foul on their next two possessions, and Aleigha Cass and Zarriah Pierce knocked down both of their free throws to get Hillgrove within three points.
Hillgrove seemed disoriented early in the fourth quarter, once McEachern starting forcing turnovers, and taking advantage of those miscues, to build its biggest lead of the game. The Lady Hawks lost the ball 27 times, with 17 of those turnovers coming in the second half.
Hillgrove started out defending the post, keeping the Lady Indians' shooters on the perimeter and forcing them to shoot from beyond the arc often in the first half. They were only 3 for 13 on 3 pointers.
Hillgrove, which lost to McEachern in last year's Class AAAAA state championship, allowing the Lady Indians to cap their undefeated season, led for most of Tuesday's rematch against a younger McEachern squad that lost four key seniors from last year's team.
Te'A Cooper also got on a roll for McEachern, scoring all of her 12 points in the second half. But after the Lady Indians' Mia Cooper hit one of two free throws for a 39 32 lead, Hillgrove stopped turning the ball over.
"We got out of control (against the press), and that was killing us," Hillgrove coach Susan Milam said. "We had to get back under control and stick to our patterns."
It was another tough loss Nike Air Force 1 Black Low On Feet
Jaya Smith provided the game winning layup for Hillgrove with only seconds left on the clock, and the Lady Hawks' defense made one last stand when Triana Tisdale's game winning 3 point attempt missed its target.
Hillgrove went through a spurt when it had difficulty pushing the ball down the floor. Its pass attempts in transition were often deflected, and the Lady Hawks had difficulty dribbling without the ball being stolen.
12 rebounds. "We were the underdogs, and to come in Air Force 1 Low Black here and beat them at their house was great. I love my team."
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