GASTONIA Hough High is finding its balance at the right time.
The Huskies distributed the scoring in their 63-60 win against Berry Academy in the girls final of the Upward Classic at Gaston Day, with center Julia Brown racking up 14 of her 16 points in the second half. In sweeping to the tournament title, the Huskies (8-4) are building momentum heading into conference competition.
I think things are really starting to fall into place, said Brown, who scored eight points in the fourth quarter to earn the most valuable player award. I think we had a start where we werent playing as well as we shouldve been, but this is good for us. As we get into conference play, were figuring things out together.
Three Huskies scored in double digits, led by Anna Diggs with a game-high 23 and Kelsey Deans 17. They provided offensive threats from the perimeter while Brown added the inside presence that kept Berry at bay during the second half.
In the first half, we had a lead of (12) points at one point, but they slowly came back, and we were kind of getting rushed, Brown said. When we started to settle down and started getting control, thats when we got more control of the game.
Berry (5-6) never led but stayed in contention despite foul trouble for the Cardinals best player, center RaShika White. Kechelle Johnson stepped up with 21 points, including 13 in the second half, and White added in 14 before fouling out late. Reserve Anika Riley scored 12 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter.
We used the Christmas tournament to gear us up for conference, Berry coach Marcus Talley said. The girls played hard and got on the floor. We just need more of it on a consistent basis.
Diggs and Dean carried the attack for Hough in the first half, scoring 14 and 11 points, respectively, to give the Huskies a 29-25 lead. Hough led 26-14 midway through the second quarter, but Berry rallied with an 11-0 run to close within 26-25 before Diggs delivered a 3-pointer at the horn, her fourth of the half. With Diggs spreading the defense, Dean and Brown exploited the space underneath.
I love Anna because shes been a crazy shooter all four years, and its great to see her be hot like that, Brown said.
While Diggs was hitting beyond the arc in the first half, Deans work in the lane offset the production of White, who topped the Cardinals with nine points despite picking up three fouls. In the second half, Brown picked up the pace.
Orlando (Fla.) Christian won the boys championship with a 77-69 victory against High Point Christian. Dmitri Thompson and Adonys Henriquez paced Orlando Christian with 17 each. High Point Christians Joey McLean led all scorers with 28 points, followed by Michael Provenzanos 12.
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