WALNUT • The Hickory Flat Lady Rebels suffered their first loss of the season last Saturday, Dec. 14 at the Sikes Memorial Tournament in Walnut. The Lady Rebels were coming off a 74-73 win over Myrtle in overtime the night before where senior sensation R'Daztiny Harris dropped 49 points and 15 rebounds over the Lady Hawks in the win.
Harris followed her incredible outing with a 30-point performance against Walnut, but it proved to be not enough as the Lady Wildcats pulled out the 55-49 win.
Harris had a good start in the first quarter with six early points. Corlilla Burnside scooped up a steal and scored on a layup followed by a basket from freshman Madison Weeks with 21 seconds left to carry a 14-8 lead into the second quarter.
Walnut was able to knot the game at 18-18 by the 3:30 mark of the second. Angel Harden knocked down the first of two free throws with 1:41 left and missed the second but it was corralled by Harris, who put the ball back up for the score and the three-point lead. The Lady Wildcats scored five points in the final minute to take a 23-21 lead into the break.
Harris scored 10 points in the first half but to start the second half, she got herself going with six-straight points. Harris' scoring was interrupted by a pair of three-pointers from Walnut's Claire Leak and Laura Leigh Hughes as the Lady Wildcats maintained their lead. Later in the third, the Lady Wildcats found themselves down one point after Jenna Poff scored five points, but finished the quarter on a 5-0 run in the final 3:16, taking a 36-32 lead into the fourth.
Walnut's Madi Kate Vuncannon opened the fourth with a layup for a six-point advantage but Harris dwindled that deficit down with a personal 5-0 run. Vuncannon responded with a huge three-pointer from the wing with 5:34 left, pushing the lead back to four. The two players traded baskets over the next two minutes before Hickory Flat sunk two free throws to cut the lead in half with 3:03 left. Walnut earned their largest lead of the night with a eight-point lead by the 1:35 mark, using a 6-0 run behind their free throw shooting. The Lady Rebels attempted to make a comeback scoring four points in a span of 27 seconds to find themselves down just four with a minute left. Leak and Vuncannon combined to go 6-for-6 from the free throw line down the stretch to keep the Lady Rebels away from another win.
Along with her 30 points, Harris added nine rebounds and seven steals.
Hickory Flat falls to 12-1 on the year.