Hailey Henson was emphatic when asked if Greenwood had a little extra motivation in the tank in last Tuesday’s 58-56 win against Northside.
Just a month ago, Northside beat Greenwood, 64-59. Greenwood head coach Clay Reeves was tagged with two technical fouls and ejected from that game.
“We really wanted this one,” Henson said. “Just because it’s Northside and with coach going out with two technicals. We didn’t want that to happen again and we wanted revenge so we came out ready to play.”
Northside led 39-38 after three quarters. But the Lady Bulldogs forced consecutive turnovers early in the fourth quarter and Henson drained a 3-pointer to put Greenwood up, 43-39 with 6:12 left.
Northside was still within one at 47-46 with 4:35 left when Megan Hartness went on a 9-2 run with three free throws and a pair of three-point plays. The last one put Greenwood up, 56-48 with 2:02 left.
Hartness finished with 23 points and six rebounds as the Lady Bulldogs asserted themselves inside on Tuesday.
“She’s great at taking it to the basket,” Reeves said. “We’ve tried to get her doing that a little more. Sometimes having a game like this doing what you know you can do may get you back to where you need to be. She’s a great player.”
Brittany Branum also had a solid game inside from the Lady Bulldogs with 16 points and nine boards. She had two putbacks for baskets off offensive rebounds, drilled a 3-pointer from the corner and capped a steal with a layup.
“It was a great game,” Reeves said. “We had some players really step up at different times. Like I told them after the game, most nights Lundon Williams leads us in scoring but Northside really did a good job of guarding her so we had Megan scored and Brittany scored and we had some big rebounds. Everybody made a play when they needed to make a big play.”
Hartness agreed the Lady Bulldogs didn’t like the way the first game against Northside played out.
“Oh yeah, we were really mad,” Hartness said. “We really wanted this one.”
Williams was coming off consecutive 30-point games, including 34 at Little Rock Hall on Friday and 30 more at Parkview on Saturday.
Northside made sure Williams couldn’t torch them for that many, blanketing the slick shooting senior guard’s every movement. That was okay with her, though.
“That’s the great thing about this team,” Williams said. “I wasn’t able to perform like I did this weekend, but my teammates really stepped up and got the win. That’s all that matters.”
Williams felt the extra motivation from that first game, too.
“Most definitely,” Williams said. “I’ve never seen a team as excited to come out and really play seeking revenge. We thought we didn’t finish the game that way we should have, but we did tonight.”
The game again pitted the top two teams in the state, both of which will be prime contenders for state championships — Northside in 7A and Greenwood in 6A.
“That was two great teams fighting it out,” Reeves said. “Both of us were scoring back and forth. Both of us were patient. Both of our teams know how to win. This conference and the nonconference we play prepares us. We were both prepared for this one tonight.”