The margin remained in double figures the rest of the game and grew to as much as 24 points — 46-22 — with 5:11 left in the third quarter, following a layup from McEachern’s Te’a Cooper.
Cooper, who had 10 second-quarter points, connected on four 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 28 points to go with five rebounds and three assists. Jada Lewis added three 3s and contributed 16 points, two assists and three steals for McEachern (15-2, 10-0), which completed a season sweep of its Powder Springs neighbor.
Lewis and Cooper combined for 24 of the Lady Indians’ 35 first-half points.
“This is a rivalry game, but it’s a good rivalry for us,” McEachern coach Phyllis Arthur said. “We knew coming in that this would be a big test for us. I was worried about that and how we’d play. We struggled in the first quarter, but got things going in the second.”
After falling behind by 24, Hillgrove (18-3, 11-2) closed the gap to 48-30 by the end of the third quarter. Tene Thompson scored four of her seven points during the Lady Hawks’ 8-2 run.
McEachern connected on eight 3-pointers in the contest, including three in the final period, and took its biggest advantage of the game — 69-41 — following a layup from Lewis with 53 seconds left.
Caliya Robinson added a double-double with 10 points and a school-record 21 rebounds. She also had six assists and three steals.
“Caliya was excited all week to play this game,” Arthur said. “She played a great game against (Hillgrove’s) Mackenzie (Engram) and did what she had to within the game plan.”
The game plan was simple for McEachern, which outscored Hillgrove 21-13 in the fourth quarter. The Lady Indians played a 2-3 zone defense that limited Engram’s touches inside and forced her to play up from the baseline.
McEachern also double-teamed the Georgia-bound center, who had only 11 points to go with eight rebounds and two steals. Engram had five first-half points and didn’t score in the third period.
“We definitely wanted to double-team her, and the zone helped, too,” Arthur said. “We were a little sluggish all week in practice, but we responded (Friday). We played through some foul trouble and got some good help from our bench.”
Ja’lyn Reese collected 10 of her 13 points in the second half for Hillgrove. She also had seven rebounds.