The Lady Raiders continued their postseason run in the MAIS AA North State Tournament on the campus of Leake Academy.
In the quarterfinal round, Oak Hill met up with division 1-AA opponent Marshall Academy. The Lady Raiders and Lady Patriots had played twice during the regular season, splitting the series.
The Thursday afternoon contest put head coach Stan Hughey and his girls in a battle with Marshall as the Lady Patriots gave the Lady Raiders everything and more. Oak Hill led 28-16 at halftime, but a Lady Patriot rally during the second half finished with a three-pointer to tie the game with 1:15 left 37-37, sending the contest to overtime. With free throws from Shay Atkins and Anna Ready in the overtime period, Oak Hill eked by the Lady Patriots 41-37 avoiding elimination.
Ready carried the work load for the Lady Raider offense during the first half against Marshall reaching double figures by halftime with 11 points. Oak Hill outscored the Lady Patriots 14-4 at the close of the first quarter and 14-12 in the second quarter to take a 28-16 lead by halftime. Though the Lady Raiders had a positive first half, senior Lauren Billington left the game with an ankle injury and did not return. The loss of Billington seemed to take away some energy from the team.
Oak Hill looked out of sync at the start of the second half as Marshall began to rally back into contention. The Lady Raiders went on a five minute scoring drought through the third period while the Lady Patriots used a 7-0 run to cut into their deficit. By the close of the third, the Lady Raiders lead had been closed 36-26.
Baskets were hard to come by for the Lady Raiders in the fourth quarter as Oak Hill was outscored by the Lady Patriots 11-1. A Meagan Ellis free throw with 2:23 left in regulation saved the Lady Raiders from a scoreless fourth. At the finish of four quarters, the Lady Raiders and Marshall remained deadlocked 37-37.
The four-minute overtime period was decided mentally when both teams were sent to the charity stripes at different times during the four minutes. Oak Hill capitalized on the free throw opportunities knocking down four of their six attempts from the line to clinch a victory 41-37.
The win over Marshall guaranteed a AA State Tournament berth and kept the AA North title hopes alive for the Lady Raiders.
Oak Hill had little time to rest as they returned to action Friday afternoon to take on Prairie View Academy of Prairie View, Louisiana.
Falling behind the eight ball early, Oak Hill trailed the Lady Spartans 35-23 at halftime. The Lady Raiders responded to the challenge in the second half outscoring Prairie View 32-15 to top the Lady Spartans 55-50.
A 20-9 run by the Lady Raiders in the third quarter was led by senior Atkins scoring eight points during the run and controlling the post for Oak Hill. Hughey’s team was able to take the lead in the fourth quarter after a Rachel Herndon two-pointer put the Lady Raiders up narrowly 46-44. After the lead change, Oak Hill remained in control even with the contest coming down to the wire. Atkins and Ready, once again, stepped up at the line hitting three free throws to ice the game and punch the Lady Raiders’ ticket to the North State championship 55-50.
Oak Hill has had a big week of basketball as the Lady Raiders have made the north state tournament finals. The Daily Times Leader will have further coverage of the Lady Raiders’ postseason in Tuesday’s paper.