By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer
The Hilldale Lady Hornets take a lot of pride in their pressure defense.
They showed it off in impressive style at the Hilldale Event Center on Friday night, pressuring the Okmulgee Lady Bulldogs into 29 turnovers in a 66-22 romp in a non-conference affair.
It’s something preached each game by Hilldale coach Scott Hensley, his team at 6-3. The most victories they’ve had dating back to 2007-08 is four from a year ago, Hensley’s first season at the helm.
“We’ve got to play hard defensively every night we play,” Hensley said. “We work on it. We like to cause a bunch of turnovers because that also helps us score. We have good guards who are playing well now and we’ve got other players who are doing their job on the floor. Everybody’s buzzing around for us on defense.”
Offensively, the Lady Hornets weren’t too shabby either. They had a 17-2 run in the first period and a 17-0 scoring surge in the second quarter. Hilldale led 18-4 after the opening quarter and 40-6 at halftime.
Katie Kirkhart and Julie Plunkett scored 11 points each. A freshman, Kirkhart said Hensley isn’t as concerned about his team’s offense.
“(Hensley) tells us our shots are going to fall, but we’ve always got to have the defense,” she said.
The Lady Hornets had 12 players score. Toni McMillan added eight and Emily Dowdy chipped in seven. Brandi Edwards, Kimberly Jordan and Tereka Huddleston led Okmulgee (0-9) with six points each.
It’s the second straight blowout win for Hilldale against Okmulgee this season. The Lady Hornets won 62-27 on Dec. 14.
Okmulgee 54, Hilldale 53 (OT)
Coach Jeremy Rogers doesn’t have to look any farther than the third quarter on why his Hornets (3-6) lost in overtime.
Hilldale scored just two points in the period and trailed 38-34 after the quarter. Hilldale led 32-22 at halftime.
“We weren’t disciplined,” Rogers said. “We took bad shots and that’s the same as turnovers. They got a lot of easy baskets.”
Even with the horrible quarter, the Hornets had their chance to pull out the victory.
Hunter Mullens sank a basket with 7.2 seconds left in overtime to cut the deficit to 54-53. After Mullens, the Hornets chased down a loose ball, but they couldn’t get the ball back across midcourt to try to get the win.
“We shouldn’t have been in that situation,” Rogers said. “It shouldn’t have been in overtime. We just let down in the third quarter.”
Bill Muse, Jr., led the Hornets with 20 points after scoring 17 in the first half. Jordan Proctor added 15 points.