WHITE HALL — A big performance from senior Hailey Wilkins helped a rusty White Hall girls team hold off Monticello on Tuesday night at White Hall High School.
Wilkins scored 28 points, including a perfect 8-for-8 on free throws, to lead the Lady Bulldogs to a 60-55 win over the Lady Billies.
“That’s been the standard procedure for her,” said White Hall head coach Mike Upshaw. “When she has the ball in her hands attacking the paint, good things are going to happen.”
Wilkins’ scoring output was very balanced across the game’s four quarters. She scored 8 points in the first, 4 in the second, 10 in the third and 6 in the fourth.
“When it’s all said and done,” Upshaw said, “over four quarters it is what it is.
“There’s definitely a cumulative affect.”
White Hall (5-2) got off to a good start and led 17-8 at the end of the first quarter. JaeLisa Allen matched Wilkins’ 8 first-quarter points and finished with 15 on the night.
According to Lady Billies (2-1) head coach Lucy Williams, her team came into the game short-handed — only nine of a possible 10 players made the trip. Monticello’s bench continued to get thinner as the game went on.
The Lady Billies’ starting point guard Sedre’auna Griddine was ejected early in the second quarter after picking up her second technical foul.
“That’s the game,” Williams said. “You’ve got to come to play and come to fight.
“I went up to the girl who got the two technicals and I told her, ‘I’m not blaming you one bit.’”
In the second half, at least three Monticello players were forced to leave the floor due to injuries.
“I thought we did a good job without our starting point guard,” Williams said. “We had one girl that didn’t make the trip and a couple other you saw that got hurt.
“But even still, I truly expected to win.”
After Griddine’s ejection, Monticello fought back and took a 30-29 lead into halftime. Junior Morissa Hawkins nailed three three-pointers in the quarter and finished the night with 15 points (all coming from behind the arc).
“We don’t have a post-up game,” Williams said. “We work on three.
“Our offense is geared to the three.
“… Sometimes one player isn’t hitting, so you just got to hope some of the other ones are.”
Both teams’ played a well-balanced third quarter, but, thanks to Wilkins’ 10 points in the frame, White Hall took a 43-41 lead into the fourth.
The Lady Bulldogs were able to ice the game at the free-throw line going 11-for-16 in the fourth, although, Monticello stayed close with Yasmine Franklin’s 8-for-8 performance at the line in the final quarter.
Franklin and Tanekqua Bolden scored 11 points each to join Hawkins in double-figures.
Upshaw said he believes a long layoff played a factor in White Hall’s performance.
“We hadn’t played in just about a week,” he said. “And we hadn’t really practiced as well as we had been.
“But our kids hung in there and persevered.
“The most important thing is it’s a win.”