SEFFNER — Hillsborough earned its first playoff berth in five years and host Armwood has a shot at its first title since 2006 after both teams cruised to easy victories Wednesday night in the Class 6A, District 9 tournament semifinals.
The most compelling question, however, is whether Kiana King will return to the Armwood lineup in time for Friday’s 7 p.m. final. The Hawks’ top player has missed the past two weeks with a shoulder injury suffered while playing pickup games against boys.
“I predict she is going to play,” Armwood coach Patrick Kelly said.
Even without King, the Hawks had little trouble against Lennard in a 56-15 win. The game ended earlier than expected thanks, in part, to a running clock implemented early in the third quarter once Armwood (23-4) had built a 35-point lead.
Tori Henderson scored a game-high 15 points, which included three 3-pointers, and Keaundra Ivory had 13. In all, eight Armwood players scored with Trumeeyka Hawkins adding eight and Alyssa Nieves and Shawntelle Newsome six apiece.
Lennard (11-12) trailed 27-11 at halftime before Armwood widened the lead. Tiana Garnett led the Longhorns with eight points.
In the first semifinal, Hillsborough (17-10) built a commanding 20-8 halftime lead, then hung on for a 32-29 win over Jefferson. Poor shooting, at the line and in the field, marred that contest as both teams combined to go 1-for-12 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Jefferson (19-8) outscored Hillsborough 12-8 in the fourth quarter to make it look closer than it was. The Tigers got their final basket on Don’niya Brooks’ layup to make it a two-point game with 11 seconds left, but Jada Roberson clinched it with a free throw.
“The pressure at the end kind of got to us. Thank God our defense was able to step up,” Hillsborough coach Babita Artabasy said.
Khoi Wilson scored a game-high 12 points and Roberson added nine for the Terriers. Tatiana Burton and Toni Cox each had seven for the Dragons.