It was the semi-final round of the MAIS AA State Tournament Friday as the Oak Hill Lady Raiders took the floor against a strong Bowling Green School of Louisiana.
In a competitive match, Oak Hill and the Lady Buccaneers needed all four quarters to decide a winner in Canton. After a tight first quarter that had three lead changes and a tie, Bowling Green used a 22-11 second quarter to take double digit lead 33-21 over the Lady Raiders at halftime. During the third quarter, Oak Hill used a 9-0 run to outscore the Lady Bucs 15-9 in the period and close the deficit to 42-36 entering into the fourth quarter. The finale of the semi-final saw Bowling Green go on an 8-0 scoring stretch in the opening minutes of the quarter to pull away from the Lady Raiders 50-36. Even with an Oak Hill 9-0 rally, the Lady Bucs were able to hold on and punch their ticket to the championship game on Saturday 58-49.
“Too many turnovers, we missed so many free throws and had opportunities get away from us,” commented Oak Hill head coach Stan Hughey about the loss to Bowling Green, “We didn’t come out with enough intensity.”
Bowling Green opened the scoring of the game with a two-point basket at the 6:59 mark of the game and the up-tempo first period was under way. The Lady Raiders were able to answer the Lady Buc’s early basket with a 6-0 run under the guidance of senior Rachel Herndon. By the middle of the first, Bowling Green was able to close their deficit to 6-5 Oak Hill. Both teams exchanged baskets to close out the quarter as freshman Sarah Dill put in her first four points of the game to help Oak Hill only trail Bowling Green 11-10 heading into the second period.
The second quarter fell in favor of the Lady Bucs as they executed a full court press on Oak Hill causing multiple turnovers throughout the quarter. After a Bowling Green 6-0 run to start the period, the Lady Raiders closed down the Lady Buc lead with a Shay Atkins free throw and a Sydney Holton four-point play 21-15 with 3:33 left in the half. Bowling Green shooting and a poor Oak Hill performance from the free throw line gave the Lady Bucs a 33-21 lead at the halftime break.
Oak Hill rose to the challenge following the halftime intermission to fight their way back into the contest. The Lady Raiders found great efforts from Dill and fellow freshman Sydney Holton as they stepped up into the moment playing good defense and helping Oak Hill offensively. The Lady Raiders outscored Bowling Green 15-9 in the third quarter to close down the gap to 42-36 in favor Bowling Green.
The Lady Bucs went on an 8-0 run to start the fourth quarter and were able to finally pull away from Oak Hill for good by the 3:54 mark 50-36. The Lady Raiders rallied toward the close of the game with a 9-2 run, but it was all for nothing as Bowling Green was able to stall the clock out in the final two minutes. The Lady Bucs took the victory over Oak Hill 58-49.
The Lady Raiders were led offensively by Dill with a game-high 15 points. Also reaching double-figures for Oak Hill was Atkins with 12 points and Herndon with 11 points during the loss to Bowling Green.
The loss to Bowling Green puts the Lady Raiders into the Saturday consolation match with Prairie View Academy. Oak Hill played Prairie View in the MAIS AA North State Tournament and defeated the Lady Spartans 55-50. Stay up-to-date with the Oak Hill Lady Raiders postseason run in the Daily Times Leader.