NASHVILLE – In a rematch of last year's District 11-4A final and battle for the top spot in the league so far this year, the Hillsboro High School girls' basketball team survived a rally late from Brentwood for a 46-44 victory Friday.
“Preparation meets opportunity,” Hillsboro coach Cherish Stringfield said after her team overcame the Bruins. “We prepared all week long and studied film. We came up with different game plans, and of course, they did the opposite of what we thought they were the whole first half.
"We tried to prepare the kids for all types of scenarios.”
Brentwood clawed back from a 42-36 deficit with 1:35 remaining in the fourth quarter when sophomore Ella Ryan tied the game at 44 on a layup. Raegan Starks broke the tie in the final minute, hitting one of two free throws to go ahead 45-44 and Hillsboro extended the margin to two as Latazia Williamson, who finished with 17 points on the night, hit one of two free throws as well with 12 seconds remaining.
Brentwood had one final chance at the buzzer, but could not get the shot to fall as Hillsboro hung on to remain undefeated in district play.
The Burros made it a sweep on the night in the district matchups with the Hillsboro boys taking a 50-37 victory against Brentwood in the night cap. The two schools will tangle again in Brentwood on Feb. 7.
The Brentwood girls grabbed a 14-10 early Friday with the final basket coming from Ryan. The sophomore scored 10 in the first quarter and finished with 18.
Hillsboro senior Kimora Lockett sank three free throws after a foul on a 3-point attempt to inch in front, 15-14 early in the second quarter. Brentwood scooted back in front and led by as many as eight at 25-17 on a 3-pointer from freshman Ava Jarrett.
Williamson converted a 3-point play late in the frame to pull within 25-20 at the break.
“We knew Latazia was going to be a headache for a lot of teams,” Stringfield said. “Some of the defenses they played allowed us to go inside to her more. She has developed as an offensive player this season with counter moves.”
Hillsboro freshman Eboni Donaldson nailed two threes in the first two minutes of the third, but Brentwoo responded with triples, too. Brentwood freshman Paige Morris nailed two long balls on back-to-back possessions to answer the fast start by the Burros.
Starks tallied eight of her 11 points in the third quarter with five coming in the final minute to give Hillsboro a 36-34 advantage as the Burros went on to win a fourth consecutive game.
“I feel like in the first half I was in a little bit of a struggle, but I picked it up in the second half,” Starks said. “I was not making outside shots, so I started driving in more.”
Paige Morris added 11 for the Bruins to go with four assists.
Hillsboro boys 50, Brentwood 37
The Burros boys improved to 3-0 in district play by stopping Brentwood.
“Defensively, we have been really good,” Hillsboro coach Rodney Thweatt said. “Our defense let us survive early in the district season. If we can start putting the ball a little more in the basket consistently, it will be exciting to see our progress.”
Brentwood was coming off a 42-28 setback against Franklin Tuesday. Coach Troy Bond said his team once again had "too many empty possessions."
“We got some great looks, we were just unable to put the ball in the hole," he said. "Hillsboro is a type of team where you can’t turn the ball over and leave good opportunities.”
Hillsboro gained a little separation in the middle of the second quarter with a 20-11 cushion following a corner 3-pointer by junior Arnez Anderson. Brentwood's Daniel Cochran answered with a bucket to cut the lead to 20-13 at the break.
Cochran had 10 of the 13 points for Brentwood in the opening 16 minutes and finished the game with a team-leading 19.
“He is just an all-around player and can score at all levels,” Bond said. “He likes to take the team on his shoulders and does a great job for us.”
The Bruins fell into a double-digit hole after the break, but a jumper by junior Jacob Purifoy in the final minute of the third quarter brought Brentwood within 32-23. Purifoy tallied five of his eight points in the third.
Hillsboro stretched their advantage to 46-26 with two minutes remaining in the fourth on a 3-point play by sophomore Cortez Graham. Graham had 10 of his 14 points in the final quarter as Hillsboro pulled away.
Tre Johnson led the Burros with 15.
“They (Tre and Cortez) played well,” Thweatt said. “They made some baskets inside and did a good job of staying patient and efficient.”
Brentwood will try to bounce back Tuesday in the first installment of Battle of the Woods on Tuesday against Ravenwood.
“We are both really similar in some ways,” Bond said. “It will be a war like always.”
Hillsboro will host Centennial at home in another district contest Tuesday. Both teams have 3-0 records in the league.
“Centennial is a tough team,” Thweatt said. “It will be a challenge getting the win.”
Hillsboro girls 46, Brentwood 44
BHS 14 11 11 8 – 44
HHS 12 8 14 12 – 46
BHS (44) – Willow Kim 2, Ava Jarrett 8, Paige Morris 11, Ella Ryan 18, Olivia Castagna 5.
HHS (46) – Kamil Washum 5, Eboni Donaldson 10, Latazia Williamson 17, Raegan Starks 11, Kimora Lockett 3.
3-pointers – BHS 9 (Ryan 4, Morris 3, Jarrett, Castagna), HHS 4 (Donaldson 3, Starks). Total Fouls – BHS 15, HHS 7. Fouled Out – None.
Hillsboro boys 50, Brentwood 37
BHS 7 6 10 14 – 37
HHS 8 12 12 18 – 50
BHS (37) – Jacob Purifoy 8, Daniel Cochran 19, Kyler Green 2, Hudson McKnight 5, Phillip Hyams 3.
HHS (50) – Ty Fisher 5, Tre Johnson 15, Xavier Crowley 1, Xavier Washington 5, Cortez Graham 14, Arnez Anderson 7, Paul Puckett 3.
3-pointers – BHS 4 (Purifoy, Cochran, McKnight, Hyams), HHS 5 (Johnson 2, Anderson 2, Graham). Total Fouls – BHS 14, HHS 13. Fouled Out – None.