HICKORY FLAT • R’Daztiny Harris shouldered the load for Hickory Flat in a crucial Division 3-1A matchup last Thursday night.
The state’s leading scorer dropped 31 points to lead the Lady Rebels (21-2, 7-1) to a 44-40 win over West Union.
Harris scored 12 points in the first half but the Lady Eagles (14-9, 6-1) took a 22-21 lead into halftime after Ella Kate Taylor buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the lead.
To start the second half, Harris took over the game, scoring all 13 of the Lady Rebels’ third quarter points.
“In the first half I was in my head a little bit,” stated Harris. “Then I went into the locker room and cleared my mind and came back out and I told myself that we had to win so I had to do whatever was needed for us to win.”
The last time these two teams squared off, West Union’s Annie Orman scored 40 points leading to a 67-62 win for the Lady Eagles. But this go-around, Orman was limited scoring just eight points until the final 20 seconds of the game where she added four points for a team-high 12 points.
“Our team philosophy is to win on defense,” said Hickory Flat head coach Brent Kuhl. “So Annie scored 40 on us the first time so our practices this week was geared towards trying to slow her down and make sure somebody else had to hit shots to beat us.”
Under four minutes to play in the fourth, Hickory Flat led by six before a Emma Claire Callicutt floater went in to cut the lead to four with 3:23 to play. From there, the Lady Rebels held West Union scoreless over the next three minutes as Harris added to the lead with a putback and a paire of free throws with 42 seconds left to seal the win.
Turning Point: Harris opened the second half on a personal 8-0 run, taking a seven-point lead and never looked back.
Point Maker: Harris finished with 31 points, eight rebounds and five steals.
Talking Point: “She always comes up big. She always plays hard on defense and she leads our team every night we play. She is such a special player,” Kuhl said of Harris.