The Lady Raiders returned to action Wednesday in the first round of the MAIS AA State Tournament on the campus of Canton Academy. Placed as a second seed out of the north, Oak Hill took on the third seed from the south Columbia Academy in a 4:00 p.m. tip-off.
Head coach Stan Hughey and his Lady Raiders capitalized on Columbia’s guarding mismatches, taking full control of the game following a 14-4 second quarter to enter into the the halftime break leading the Lady Cougars 30-14. Oak Hill reached double-figures in both of second half quarters to outscore Columbia 27-17 winning the game 57-31.
“We guarded well and answered their slow-tempo style of play,” said Coach Hughey, “our defense forced them out of their usual offense and we capitalized on their adjustments.”
The Lady Raiders were able to find balance Wednesday as everyone had major contributions to win. Team balance has been a key to Oak Hill success all season. Seniors Rachel Herndon and Shay Atkins had big nights reaching double figures in points, scoring 12 points each. Along with the 12 points, Herndon and Atkins pulled down 8 and 7 rebounds respectively. Junior Maegan Ellis put in 8 points and senior Anna Ready scored 6 points, contributing to the offensive production as well.
While at the AA North State Tournament, the Lady Raiders were fighting some injuries to key players which can happen during a long season. Freshman Sarah Dill seemed near full recovery against Columbia as she put in 9 points going 5 of 7 from the free throw stripe. Also nursing a swollen ankle, senior Lauren Billington is still gutting out her time on the hardwood to help her team.
The win over the Lady Cougars gave the Lady Raiders their thirtieth win of the season and a ticket into the final four round of the state tournament. Oak Hill will meet up with the AA South Champions Bowling Green Academy of Franklinton, Louisiana. The Lady Bucs are ranked number two in the AA classification with Oak Hill right behind them in third place.
Coach Hughey knows that Bowling Green is a very good shooting team that likes to spread opposing defenses out in the half court. Oak Hill will have to show up and play Friday afternoon to make the AA State final with a tall order ahead of them.
The Lady Raiders will tip off against Bowling Green at 2:15 p.m. Friday on the campus of Canton Academy in Canton.