Feb. 23—The late change on the game clock might have slowed Hilldale. Or maybe it was the 18 days since their last game.
Still, it didn’t take the Lady Hornets long to blast this one open, opening the Class 4A postseason with a 67-19 win over the McLain Lady Titans at the Hilldale Event Center on Monday.
Leading 8-5 in a timeout, Hilldale finished the first quarter leading 16-9. McLain, which suited up just six players, got the first basket of the second quarter, then the Lady Hornets ran off 23 unanswered points.
“They had eight in a couple and seven in a couple more games we’ve seen on them, but never six,” said Hilldale coach Clif Warford. “We want to come out better than we did, but we got it going. We went 10 days with two practices and 16 days without any basketball, so we were glad to get back to playing.”
McLain (1-11) was late coming out to start the second half, missing the buzzer by two minutes. It went without a point in the third and didn’t score until making it 56-15 with 5:55 to play.
Madi Folsom ended her final home game at Hilldale with 20 points.
“It’s heartbreaking it’s over here, but I’m glad we ended it with a win,” she said. “We came out with a lot of adrenaline but once we settled down we got going.”
The Lady Hornets (13-7) will go against No. 3 Tuttle at 6 p.m. Thursday at Tuttle. It’s a rematch of a 58-33 Hornets’ loss in the Old Fort Classic last year.
A win there puts them in a regional final on Saturday at Ada.
“That was a game we’d like to forget,” said Warford. “But we know what they’ve got and I’d like to think we’ll give them our all. We’ll be prepared and we’ll see what happens.”
Skye Been added 15 points for Hilldale, Navaeh Johnson had 10.
Hilldale 76 (OT)
The Hornets dug out of a couple holes, including 9-1 out of the gate, then 11 in the fourth quarter, only to force overtime then fall into a third one.
Khalil Liggin had half of the Titans’ 14 points in overtime. He finished with 15 points, one of four in double figures for his squad. Zimon Galloway led with 18 points but fouled out late.
Evan Smith’s first basket of the second half — he had 11 points in the first half for the Hornets — came on a 3 to make it a 3 point game, 66-63, with 3:32 left. Brayson Lawson’s baseline drive cut it to 66-65, leading to a timeout by McLain with 2:18 left.
Moments later, Eric Virgil, who finished with 11 points, got a deflection off a tip drill between a couple of Titans and Lawson in the lane off a miss and turned it into a three-point play, giving Hilldale the lead at 68-66.
Lawson’s putback basket made it 70-66, but McLain would finish with the final four points to send to OT. Liggin tied it after Lawson missed the front end of a one-and-one in the final seconds.
Lawson would foul out with 3:24 left in overtime. He had 19 points. Rylan Nail, again with a strong night in the paint, had 22 points to lead all scorers to go with 12 rebounds. Smith had 14 points.
It was a tough first assignment in the postseason for Hilldale (10-8), who hasn’t played since Feb. 8 at home against Stigler.
McLain, a deceptive 7-8, had 11 games against ranked opponents, winning four. The Titans had losses to 5A powerhouse Memorial, another to 5A top 10 Edison and one to 4A No. 3 Webster, all in the Tulsa Public Schools hardwoods powder keg.
The Hornets, who won’t get back Ty O’Neal and were already out another starter since very early in the season, are one loss from ending a season that’s been full of holes to climb out of — injuries, weather, COVID quarantines.
“It’s been tough all year long — it’s tough for everybody. And I’m not making excuses, but it feels like things are just stacked against us and its tough,” Hornets coach Scott Hensley said.
“It’s tough on these kids yet they keep working and I wouldn’t trade any of them for anyone. They’re all pretty much juniors, they’re learning all the time but I’m telling you, it will pay off eventually for them.”:
The Hornets will draw a bye on Thursday in regionals. Madill and Blanchard play Tuesday in districts, the winner meeting Ada on Thursday. The Hornets will draw Thursday’s loser at 3 p.m. Friday.