By Erik Harris
North Jefferson News
HAYDEN — A pair of senior guards took charge to push Good Hope past a youthful Hayden team, 48-46 in Saturday’s championship game of the Wildcats’ Christmas Classic girls basketball tournament.
Kayla Tillman scored 16 points and reeled in seven rebounds for the Raiders. Darcie Wilson added 14 to give the duo 30 of the Raiders 48 points.
Hayden had an even stronger one-two punch going for them.
Freshman guard Grayson Taylor and junior forward Katie Parr put together an impressive inside-out game that the Raiders struggled to contain. The pair scored 35 of Hayden’s 46 points on the night.
Parr did her work from the paint, scoring 13 points and muscling her way to 18 rebounds. Taylor fired the 3-ball with deadly precision, connecting on six of her 11 shots from behind the arc. The freshman ended the game with 22 points and 12 rebounds for her own double-double.
“Grayson started for me as a seventh-grader and she’s been a fantastic player for us over the last few years,” said Hayden coach John Simmons. “She’s just a freshman.”
Eventually Good Hope used its veteran lineup to teach the young Wildcats a thing or two about winning close games. Seniors Cara Goodwin and Wilson stayed calm with the pressure on and found a way to put the ball through the net late in the contest.
“Our youth factored in a lot,” said Simmons, “especially at the end when we tried to make some adjustments.”
On the other hand, Hayden (10-4) managed to miss their critical attempts. Parr, despite showing extreme confidence on the floor, struggled mightily from the charity stripe. She hit only one of her nine free-throw attempts.
“Free-throw shooting hurt us. I believe we shot 50 percent,” said Simmons.
After taking Parr out of the equation, Hayden shot a respectable 73 percent from the line.
Mortimer Jordan 49, Hewitt-Trussville 40: The Blue Devils claimed fifth place after beating the Huskies earlier on Saturday.
The Blue Devils burned the Hewitt defense in the first half, making over 52 percent of their shots (10-19).
“I’m very proud of them, good [ball] movement is what it was,” said first-year Jordan coach Kelsey Treadaway.
The Huskies limped their way through the opening half after starting the game 1-for-13 from the field (8 percent). But despite their regrettable start, Hewitt trailed by only eight at intermission.
Though the Devils did cool off after the break, their efficient ball movement and quick pace gave them a double-digit lead for much of the second half.
Jordan started the tournament with a first-round loss to Homewood, before rebounding to defeat Cordova and the Huskies.
“I’m impressed with what we did in this tournament,” said Treadaway. “Slowly but surely we are getting there.”