The smack was going down on our message board about this game, but it was Heritage Christian that came away with bragging rights with their third straight state championship win in 2A. After a fairly close first half, the HC Eagles pulled away in the third, led by junior guard Claire Freeman, who scored all of her nine points in the quarter. (Photo - Fan favorite Alicia Byrd, Claire Freeman and Kelly Faris have some happy faces with their third consecutive first place finish.)
A great game featuring a number of marquee players, both teams left everything on the floor, with Oak Hill battling to the final minutes despite the lopsided score.
The first half was a close affair, with four ties and two lead changes. Neither team seemed to get into a smooth rhythm, but the competition was fierce and there were some terrific plays by both team. HC led at the break by five and the second half seemed to be destined for a good old-fashioned showdown.
But that was not to be, as Heritage Christian went on a 17-5 run in the third, due mainly to the inspired play of HC guard Claire Freeman. After going scoreless in the first half, Freeman poured it on with nine points in the stanza, four points off of steals and layups. That quarter was devastating for Oak Hill, which could get nothing going.
It was downhill from there for the defending champion, pretty much having their way on offense and creating havoc on defense.
Leading the way for Heritage Christian was junior Kelly Faris, who finished with a near triple double of 10 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. She was supported by Freeman's 9 points, 3 assists and 3 steals, while frosh Liz Stratman also tabbed a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
For Oak Hill, who had a wonderful home crowd cheering them on, Kristen Hicks finished with 8 points and 8 rebounds, while sister Heather Hicks contributed 7 points (2-3 treys) and four rebounds. Courtney Moses, who had a tough shooting day going 3-12, finished with 6 points and 3 assists.
Our all 2A state championship team:
HC - Kelly Faris, MVP - 10 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists
HC - Claire Freeman - 9 points, 3 assists, 3 steals
HC - Liz Stratman - 10 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks
OH - Kristen Hicks - 8 points, 8 rebounds
OH - Heather Hicks - 7 points, 4 rebounds
2A Fourth quarter:
Final - HC 53, OH 31. Hard -played game by both teams.
0:36 - Everyone getting into the act now. Junior Meredith Martin scores from the elbow.
1:15 - Pickering gets a rousing round of applause from the OH faithful as she picks up her fifth. HC 50, OH 25
2:20 - Frosh Maddie Anderson gets her first bucket of the day.
2:45 - Farris, who four fouls, tabbing a near triple double - 10 pts, 10 reb and 7 assts
3:20 - Jones and one. Makes it. HC 46, OH 22.
3:55 - Media time out. HC looking like a winner at this point.
4:33 - Pickering misses the 2nd of two free throws, gets her own rebound, but travels. HC 41, OH 22
5:27 - OH finally connects on a free throw, but it doesn't look good for the Golden Eagles down 18 with five to go.
6:19 - OH dodges a bullet when Moses takes a foul for Pickering. Stratman converts on both freebies. HC 39, OH 20. Long scoring drought for the Golden Eagles.
6:33 - HC playing smart ball and managing the clock.
2A Third quarter:
0:00 - Freeman comes up huge in this quarter with 9 of HC's 17 points in the third, including the final dagger with about :01 to go.
1:57 - HC goes on a 4-0 run capped by a steal and layup by Freeman. HC 33, OH 20
3:19 - Freeman gets one to rattle in from behind the arc. HC 29, OH 20.
4:59 - Farris drives and scores. HC 26, OH 18.
5:10 - Huge foul on Pickering, her fourth. She's still in there, tho.
5:50 - Very nice take by HC Kaycee Jones. HC 22, OH 18.
6:13 - OH only behind by 2 and the momentum is swinging their way.
6:30 - Hicks hits a huge three after a Pickering swat. Farris picks up her 3rd foul on a charge.
7:05 - Action is underway, but no change in the score.
First half impressions:
Great game so far with some excellent talent on the floor. Great guards, good post play and strong effort by both teams. Shot selection seems to be hurting OH at this point. HC seems to execute better as a team with better ball movement, creating some great open looks. Leading scorers for HC are Farris and Stratman, each with 8, while Hicks has 6 and Moses has 4 for Oak Hill.
2A Second quarter:
0:00 - End of the half. HC still in control, holding the defense against a last second OH attempt by Moses.
0:44 - OH got a big steal, but wasn't able to convert before turning over the ball.
1:28 - Huge three by Heather Hicks. HC 20, OH 15
2:02 - Game stopped for an injury to Alyssa Burton. She walks off the court on her own.
3:41 - HC increases their lead to 17-12. Both teams playing extremely well, although OH seems to be taking some ill-advised shots, i.e. 1 on 3. Oak Hill crowd is very vocal, great showing!
2A First quarter:
0:00 - End of the first, HC 11, OH 9. Freshman post Liz Stratman is coming up big for the Eagles so far.
1:34 - Wow, great game to watch! Keep forgetting to update you. OH 9, HC 9 on two free throws by Farris. Media time out. Moses, Farris, Pickering showing why they are being recruited at the next level.
6:50 - Nice take by OH's Moses. Tied 2-2.
7:44 - Farris gets it going witha layup for HC.
Getting ready for the 2A game. GREAT, great crowd here from Oak Hill. Should be a good one!