The visiting Lady Indians pushed the ball effectively against Hillgrove on Tuesday night and shot 53 percent from the field to overwhelm their Powder Springs rival 71-34 in a Region 4AAAAAA game.
Point guard Te’a Cooper, a junior who has committed to North Carolina, led McEachern (5-1, 3-0) with 26 points, going 13-for-18 from the field. Taylor Gordon added 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Kell transfer Caliya Robinson scored 13 points and grabbed 11 boards.
The Lady Indians were also successful in slowing down Hillgrove’s Mackenzie Engram. The Georgia signee was held to 14 points and seven rebounds.
“We’ve talked about (Hillgrove) all week. They’ve always been a good team,” McEachern coach Phyllis Arthur said. “We knew we had to contain Mackenzie and their offensive rebounds. We were ready to play (Tuesday). That’s the best part of it. We got to stop them from scoring, and we got to score.”
McEachern had the edge after losing both of its regular-season meetings with its neighboring rival last season.
Hillgrove (7-2, 4-1) outrebounded McEachern, but most of the rebounds came from the offensive end, as a result of missed shots. The Lady Hawks shot just 22 percent in the first half, and they didn’t do much better in the second half, raising it to 29 percent.
Although the teams were relatively close in turnovers in the first half, the Lady Indians took advantage of most of theirs.
An early seven-point run by McEachern set the tone after the teams traded buckets to begin the game. The run started with a 3-pointer from Gordon. Cooper followed with a jumper and a layup off a steal.
A 3-pointer by Jada Lewis midway through the second quarter put McEachern in front by 14, and Hillgrove never cut into the lead.
“We knew they would try to run the ball,” Hillgrove coach Susan Milam said. “They like the run-and-gun, and we were trying not to let them beat us down the court, and they did that quite often. We were hoping that our press would slow them down, but you have to give them credit.”
After leading by 17 points at the half, McEachern forced six third-quarter turnovers.
McEachern never let up during the second half, coming out of the break with a 10-2 run. The Lady Indians went on to outscore the Lady Hawks 16-8 in the third quarter and 21-9 in the fourth.
“This is one of the best games we’ve played all season,” Arthur said. “We need to go out and play the best game we’ve played yet, but we still got a lot of room to improve.”
Hillgrove 51, McEachern 47: B.J. Brown made three 3-pointers in the third quarter to give the Hawks a boost against their Powder Springs rival after trailing by one at the half.
Hillgrove (5-2, 3-2 Region 4AAAAAA) also shot 5-of-5 from the free-throw line in the third.
That was enough to give the Hawks a six-point lead, as they also got some late stops after McEachern cut the lead to 42-41 and made their free throws down the stretch.
Brown ended up with 20 points for Hillgrove, and Kyle Castlin had 15.
Logan McIntosh led McEachern with 18 points, and Freddie Brown had 14.