Highland outlasts Hillcrest in overtime

By Giovanni Coronel
Posted 12/6/23


A rowdy crowd environment only got more boisterous after four quarters of play between Highland and Hillcrest was not enough to decide a winner and the game headed into overtime. 

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Highland outlasts Hillcrest in overtime



A rowdy crowd environment only got more boisterous after four quarters of play between Highland and Hillcrest was not enough to decide a winner and the game headed into overtime. 

In the end the Ravens, on their home court, came up a bit short as the Huskies scored game winning baskets at the free throw line in OT to emerge victorious, 45-42, on Nov. 28. 

“This was a good team win for our girls,” Highland coach Jody Fink said. “Everyone contributed in different areas and stepped up in different roles.”

It was Hillcrest who led the Huskies after not just one but two quarters of play. Entering halftime the Ravens found themselves leading by six but Highland scored a quarter high 16 points in the third frame to take a one point lead. 

“After the first period, we did a good job of controlling the boards and being a bit more patient,” coach Fink said. “We need to cut down on the turnovers we had tonight overall to be continuously successful.”

A total of three field goals, all three pointers, were made in the fourth quarter and they were all scored by Hillcrest. Two field goals were made by Lydia Beacy and one was made by Claire Withrow.  Beachy’s second three-pointer gave Hillcrest a one point lead with little time remaining. 

All of Highland’s fourth quarter points came from the free throw line. Seniors Sarah Burton, Kelsi Cerny, Kerra Longbine all scored at least one point from the charity stripe in the final frame.

After Beachy’s go-ahead three-pointer, Longbine split a pair of free throws to tie the game and send it into OT. 

“Kelsi Cerny and Kerra Longbine came up big for us at the free-throw line in the second half, hitting huge free-throws,” coach Fink said. 

Overtime was a low scoring affair with neither team recording a successful field goal, every point scored was a result of a free throw. Outscoring the Ravens  4-1, the Huskies silenced the crowd and left Hillcrest Academy with a hard-fought victory. 

“I was very proud of the girls' overall perseverance to come out on top when things are not going the greatest,” coach Fink said.

This win keeps the Huskies undefeated on the season (4-0) and gives them their first conference win of the year. Highland has now won 15 of the last 16 contests against Hillcrest, with the Ravens (1-2) last win in the series coming in 2019.  

Leading the Ravens in this overtime affair was Withrow. Accounting for half of Hillcrest’s final score, Withrrow scored a season high 21 points, connecting on a team high five three-pointers. 

Also reaching double digits to be Hillcrest’s second highest scorer was Malia Yoder. Nearly reaching a double double she scored 18, secured eight rebounds, stole the ball five times, and recorded five assists. 

Leading all scorers with 26 points was Burton. Buton, scoring over half of Highland’s points, ended the night with a double double. She led the Huskies in rebounds (18), blocks (6), and steals (5).

“Sarah had an overall great game in all areas which sometimes is taken for granted,” coach Fink said. “This was an average game for her in the overall aspect of her abilities.”

The Huskies went on the road and played against the Louisa-Muscatine Falcons (2-2) on Dec. 5. Up next for Highland (4-1) is a home matchup against the Pekin Panthers (2-2) on Dec. 8. 

Hillcrest 57, Morningstar Academy 31

Bouncing back from a close loss in overtime the Ravens defeated the Morningstar Academy Mustangs to collect their second win of the season on Dec. 2. 

Building upon the nine point lead after one quarter of play, the Ravens scored 26 in the second frame while holding the Mustangs to just three points to head into halftime with a commanding 32 point lead. 

Despite the Mustangs outscoring them in the third and fourth quarter, the lead Hillcrest built up proved to be too formidable to overcome. 

Shooting a perfect three-for-three at three point range, Claire Withrow scored over 20 in back to back games. Withrow ended the day with a team leading 22 points and recorded three steals. Her 22 points is a season high. 

Not one but two Ravens ended the game with double doubles, juniors Malia Yoder and Delaney Shaw.

Yoder, earning an unconventional double double, scored 16 and stole the ball an impressive 10 times. Shaw collected 11 rebounds to go along with 12 points. 

The Ravens battled Lone Tree (4-1) in a SEISC matchup on Dec. 5. Up next for Hillcrest (2-2) will be a home game against the Louisa-Muscatine Falcons (2-2) on Dec. 8 and in a quick turnaround they will hit the road to face off against the Winfield-Mt Union Wolves (2-3) on Dec. 9.