CORNELIUS Hough High earned its spot atop the MECKA 4A girls basketball standings along with some redemption.
The Huskies overcame a sluggish fourth quarter to take down visiting rival Mallard Creek 71-65 in overtime on Friday to remain in a tie for first. After losing to the Mavericks earlier in the month, Hough (14-4, 7-2) felt the urgency.
“We lost to them the first time so that was tough,” said Huskies guard Anna Diggs, who poured in a team-high 23 points. “We wanted to get it back this time and we knew it would keep us in first, so that’s a good confidence booster, I’d say.”
Hough needed a boost by the end of regulation. Mallard Creek (14-5, 5-4) outscored the Huskies 18-9 in the fourth quarter, with Chantel Williams (15 points) draining a pair of free throws with 3 seconds left to force overtime with a 62-all deadlock.
Mallard Creek’s Zaria Wright led all scorers with 28 points.
“Our girls don’t give up,” Mallard Creek coach C.J. Johnson said. “To get a chance to go to overtime with them was a big achievement. The girls played hard.”
Diggs, a senior, sparked Hough’s offense with seven 3-point shots, including a triple on the Huskies’ first overtime possession to put them ahead for good at 65-64. When Mallard Creek extended its defense, Hough went inside to seniors Julia Brown (22 points) and Kelsey Dean (19 points).
“We have four four-year starters and their experience played a really good part for us,” Hough coach Jason Smith said. “If you look at Mallard Creek’s team, they’re freshmen and sophomores, so a couple of years from now, what we did tonight, it’s going to be them.”
That experience is an asset Hough leaned on when Mallard Creek forced the home team Hough to the limit, with the Huskies’ seniors making plays on both ends of the court in overtime.
“We made a couple of mistakes down the stretch,” Diggs said. “They were able to grab the momentum, but we were able to get it back in overtime. We just kept pounding in there and got it back, so it was good.”
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