The Lady Raiders had won three straight games in the MAIS AA North Tournament taking Oak Hill all the way to the championship game Saturday afternoon.
Under the direction of head coach Stan Hughey, Oak Hill vanquished the Riverdale Academy Lady Rebels to open the tournament and gutted out two wins over Marshall Academy and Prairie View Academy in route to the championship.
The championship game’s opponent was the undefeated Leake Academy Lady Rebels, a Lady Raiders’ district rival. A rematch from last Saturday’s district 2-AA tournament championship, the match on Saturday afternoon marked the fourth meeting this season between Oak Hill and the Lady Rebels. The previous three meetings had fallen in favor of Leake as the Lady Raiders have been frustrated by the Lady Rebels all season.
The North State Tournament final was no different. After an energetic start, Oak Hill was reeling against the tough Leake full-court press falling behind for good at the 5:54 mark in the first quarter 6-4. By halftime, the Lady Rebels had increased their lead over the Lady Raiders 36-21. Leake continued the full court press and sharp shooting in the third quarter to completely pull away from Oak Hill for good, outscoring the Lady Raiders 26-7 and taking a 57-28 lead into the final period. With the close of the final quarter, Leake remained undefeated on the season and won their eleventh consecutive North State tournament 69-30.
“We battled back a couple of times but we just hit that wall,” said Coach Hughey about the contest against Leake, “We just did not have much fight left in us. It was a 39 point game, but I think it was closer than that, I’m really proud of my team.”
The Lady Raiders were led by freshman Sarah Dill who reached double figure in the scoring column with 11 points. Also getting into double figures was senior Shay Atkins netting 10 points in the contest.
Coach Hughey and his girls will now enter into the AA State Tournament on the campus of Canton Academy this coming Wednesday. Oak Hill has a date set with the third seeded Columbia Academy. The match is set to tip off at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday. Hughey wants to make the all-around tournament and to get another shot at the Leake Lady Rebels.
“Some people may think we are foolish, but we want another shot at Leake next Saturday, but overall I am really proud of these girls,” commented Coach Hughey about his hopes for this upcoming week and the pride he has in his team’s efforts.