November 13, 2013 7:01:49 AM
WEST POINT -- Sarah Dill may only be a sophomore, but she stepped into a leadership role Tuesday at the right time for the Oak Hill Academy girls basketball team.
Dill scored a game-high 32 points to lead Oak Hill Academy to a 49-46 victory against Heritage Academy.
"She had herself a big night," Oak Hill Academy coach Stan Hughey said. "She's worked hard over the summer to try and improve on some things, and she's a really talented player."
After Oak Hill Academy (2-3) took an 8-2 lead, Heritage Academy fought back and trailed 11-8 at the end of the first quarter. The Lady Patriots took a 12-11 lead early in the second quarter, and used an 8-0 run to take a 16-11 lead midway through the period. The Lady Raiders turned up the scoring thanks in part to Dill's 15 points in the first half that helped Oak Hill Academy cut the deficit to 23-21 at halftime.
"We didn't have a lot of rhythm offensively," Hughey said. "We struggled with that in the first half, and part of it was that we played in spurts, but also that Heritage just played really well."
Oak Hill Academy struggled to start the second half as Heritage Academy (2-3) tried to expand its lead early in the third quarter. However, Dill helped Oak Hill Academy re-take a 34-29 lead at the end of the third period. The Lady Raiders pulled away in the fourth quarter, only to see the Lady Patriots make one final surge with just under a minute remaining.
"It felt great to come out and have the kind of game I did," Dill said. "I've struggled in some games in the past, and it was great for me to finally get going tonight and for our team to get the big win."
Maegan Ellis had six points, all of which came during the Lady Raiders' run early in the fourth quarter. Four other Lady Raiders combined to score nine points.
Kristen Phillips led the Lady Patriots with 12 points, while Mary Douglass Kerby and Harli Sesser had 11 and 10 points, respectively.
"We played hard," Heritage Academy coach Chris Ball said. "We had a lead for most of the game and even got an opportunity to finish with the win late. But we got in foul trouble, especially in the second quarter, and that allowed them to get back into the game."
Oak Hill Academy will play host to Starkville Academy on Thursday, while Heritage Academy will play host to Washington School on Saturday.
n Oak Hill Academy 53, Heritage Academy 42: After jumping out to a 16-2 lead, the Raiders never looked back.
"We launched every bit of intensity we had early," said Oak Hill Academy coach Brian Middleton, whose team improved to 2-1. "After that big run, for a while we had trouble getting things going and that allowed Heritage to get back into it. It's still early in the season, and we've only had a few practices, so we still have some things to improve on."
The Patriots (1-1) came within as much as eight points in the second quarter and throughout the second half.
Curt Huffman and Matthew Gunthrey, had 11 and 10 points, respectively, for Oak Hill Academy. Hayden Peel had 17 points to lead Heritage Academy.