Girls Basketball: Bench play leads Hillcrest past ThorntonShannise Heady (31) Hillcrest High School heads for the net against Jaccarra Reeves (3) Thornton High School during varsity action Monday night November 28, 2011 in Country Club Hills, Illinois. | Art Vassy~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 28, 2011 8:51PM
After tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in April, Hillcrest’s Karlisa Harris made her return to the court Monday having missed the team’s first four games of the season.
For the senior guard, some dives to the floor defensively never felt so good.
“It felt great,” Harris said with a smile. “I was excited. Everyone else was scared I was going to do something, but I couldn’t wait to get out here. I was ready to go and fired up.”
Harris scored four points off the bench in helping Hillcrest to a 70-39 win over Thornton in Country Club Hills.
Shannise Heady’s 16 points, all in the first half, paced the host Hawks, with Brittney Wilson adding 13 points as 10 different players scored. Hillcrest (5-0) has scored at least 70 points in all five of its games.
With the starters jumping out to an 15-4 lead halfway through the first period, Harris and the second wave came in, trying to sustain the momentum.
Playing defense at midcourt, Harris took a nasty spill on defense but popped right up.
“I wasn’t thinking about any pain,” Harris said. “I couldn’t show any emotion or fear. I was ready.”
Picking up where the starters left off, Dana Gettis (nine points), Wilson and Harris sparked a lightning-quick 10-0 run in under a minute as the bench blew open the game. All five baskets came off turnovers caused by Hillcrest’s press. Thornton committed 14 first-quarter turnovers in falling behind 27-4.
“Our bench carries a tremendous amount of experience,” Hillcrest coach John Maniatis said. “They help balance us. The motto we’ve been using is, ‘Complete us, not compete against us.’ (The bench) has bought into that, and they bring a lot to the table.”
Thornton (2-2) was led by Naomi Fuller (10 points), Dasia McByrd (10) and Georgetta Reid (nine).