Girls Basketball: Hillcrest edges out Mother McAuley
Updated: December 13, 2011 10:00PM
There are always a couple of dates per season that a real competitor circles on her calendar.
For Hillcrest’s Shannise Heady, Tuesday was one of them.
“I’ve been waiting all year for this,” she said after Tuesday’s 56-53 nonconference victory over host Mother McAuley. “I like playing a team that’s good and gives us good competition.”
Heady was ready, scoring 15 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Samirah Ali added 12 points, Jasmine Sanders 10, and Miriam Awoniyi contributed 10 rebounds as the No. 3 Hawks improved to 9-0.
Tiffany Fortune (16 points, eight rebounds), Elizabeth Nye (13 points), Brenna Nolan (nine points, eight rebounds) and Alyssa Siwek (eight points, nine rebounds) paced the Mighty Macs (6-5).
Tuesday brought a challenge that Hillcrest hasn’t seen since an opening night win over No. 4 Homewood-Flossmoor.
McAuley, employing good ball movement and passing, sparred well with the Hawks, leading by as much as 38-31 after a three-pointer by Nye two minutes into the third period.
“They came to play and we came to play too,” Heady said. “They were moving the ball faster than we thought they would. We thought they might try to take the air out of the ball. They didn’t, but we played through it.”
Hillcrest didn’t go on any monster runs, but closed quarters well. A key burst came over the final four minutes of the third period, when Sanders’ three-point basket ignited an 8-0 uprising that erased a 39-34 deficit.
Sanders hit another three-pointer early in the fourth quarter as Hillcrest stretched it out to 49-40. But two starters would foul out within a two-minute span and McAuley climbed back into contention.
The Mighty Macs went down battling, getting as close as 55-53 with 36.8 seconds left via a three-pointer by Fortune. After Ali split two free throws for Hillcrest with 34.9 seconds showing, McAuley had three shots from three-point range, but couldn’t convert.
“We knew we could stay with them. It was a matter of taking care of the ball,” Mighty Macs coach Karen Ade said. “We had a couple of missed opportunities where we missed some layups and a couple of key turnovers, but overall I’m proud of how our kids played.
“I mean, (Hillcrest is) ranked second or third in the state. We’ve been telling the kids all year that they can play with these teams. And if they are (among) the best in the state, I think we proved we can pretty much play with anyone on our schedule.”