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Girls Basketball: Mother McAuley turns back Hillcrest

Updated: March 3, 2014 4:22PM



Elizabeth Nye said it wasn’t really anything special that Hillcrest did to hold her to five points in the first half of Wednesday night’s encounter in Mount Greenwood.

“They’re just really good defenders,” she said after the Mighty Macs prevailed 61-54. “They were pressing on my teammates just as hard. They get up and they get after people.”

The Hawks appeared to have McAuley staggered early in the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run that whittled a nine-point deficit to one. But the Macs responded with a 12-0 run and maintained from there.

Nye finished with 22 points and seven rebounds, Molly O’Malley had 15 points, Raven Willis had 14 points and eight rebounds and Erin Drynan 10 rebounds as McAuley improved to 15-8.

Hillcrest (15-5) was led by Tierra Sanders (13 points, 10 rebounds), Aliah Acker (12 points), Tanzania Sherrill (12 points) and Joshulyn Shepherd (11 rebounds).

The win was a definite spirit-lifter for McAuley, which had lost four of its previous five games.

“We needed a win so bad,” Nye said, smiling. “Basketball is a long season. It always has its ups and downs. But we definitely have been practicing a lot harder with a new mentality.

“The last couple of games we’ve been getting after it. We came out like a different team against Trinity and played them to a really close game (a 50-39 loss). They’re a great team. Now we came out and beat Hillcrest, another great team.”

Hillcrest was on a six-game winning streak, but spent most of the night chasing McAuley.

Down 16-9 early, the Hawks rallied to go in front 17-16 as Joyner and Shepherd dominated on the boards. They were leading 25-22 with seconds left in the half when O’Malley hit her fourth three-pointer as the buzzer sounded to tie it up.

Nye opened the second half for the Macs with another three and went 4-of-6 from the floor while Willis also nailed a three as the hosts built a 41-32 lead.

A furious first two minutes of the fourth quarter saw the Hawks score consecutively on three layups by Sanders and another by Sherrill. Three of the baskets were on putbacks.

After three turnovers and a timeout, the Macs finally were able to break a backcourt press as O’Malley swished her fifth three of the night.

“We’ve been practicing a lot, and Nye knows when I’m open to get me the ball,” O’Malley said. “(Hillcrest) is very fast team. They’re a great team. They played well.”

Nye hit two more threes, giving McAuley 10 on a night when Hillcrest seemingly did a good job defending the perimeter.

“Nye did a great job being their floor general,” Hillcrest coach John Maniatis said. “She found some seams in the defense and got their shooters some looks. Willis hit us with a couple of sledgehammers there, and O’Malley did a nice job at the perimeter as well.”



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