Highlanders claim third consecutive conference championship; Highlassies come up short

Highlanders claim third consecutive conference championship; Highlassies come up short

The McLennan Highlanders claimed their third consecutive North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference Championship Wednesday evening in Hillsboro. The Highlanders needed a win over Hill and a Temple win over Collin to claim the title outright, and that's exactly what happened. The Highlanders took care of business on the road at Hill, defeating the Rebels 72-59, and Temple defeated Collin 75-66 at home to give McLennan the title.

What better way to end the regular season than with a rivalry game? You could feel the tension and excitement in the air as the Highlanders and Rebels took the court.

Hill opened the game on a 5-0 run. Xaiver Armstead put the Highlanders on the board with a nothing-but-net 3-pointer from the wing with 16:56 to go in the first half. The Rebels added a bucket from Washington to go up by four, 7-3. McLennan took control with a 7-0 run, including five points from Armstead and a high-flying dunk by Jordan Skipper-Brown, to go ahead 10-7. Hill responded with a 9-0 run to take the 16-10 lead with 12:02 to play in the first. The Rebels would lead 18-14 midway through the half. Another Highlander run – this one of the 8-0 variety – put McLennan up by four, 22-18. The Highlanders led by as many as seven down the stretch and held the 35-29 advantage at the break.

McLennan began to pour it on in the second half. The Highlanders took the first double-digit lead of the contest on a Marquez Cooper jumper with 15 minutes remaining in the game, 45-35, and continued to pull away. McLennan increased the lead to 18 with just over six minutes remaining in the game, and the Rebels never recovered.

Freshman Xaiver Armstead, the reigning Conference Player of the Week, led the Highlanders with 21 points. Javen Hedgeman and Daniel Pinho Severo scored 12 points each, and Marquez Cooper added 10.

In a low-scoring affair, the McLennan Highlassies' season came to an end with a 56-46 loss to the Hill Lady Rebels.

Hill built a four-point lead at 7-3 with 6:30 to play in the first quarter. McLennan was hot from 3-point range early on, hitting five in the first quarter. The game was tied at 11 with 1:43 to play in quarter. The Highlassies ended the half on an 8-0 run, including five points from sophomore Jaylonn Walker, to take the 19-11 lead into the second quarter. The momentum swung to Hill in the second as the Lady Rebels outscored McLennan 19-4 in the period to lead 30-23 at intermission.

McLennan made adjustments at the half and returned to the court with a renewed determination. Hill increased its lead to 10 with a 3-pointer less than a minute into the third quarter. The Highlassies picked up their game and rallied to cut the lead to four, 36-32, with three minutes to play in the period. Hill led by eight going to the final period, 42-34. The Lady Rebels increased the lead to 12 early in the fourth, but McLennan didn't go down without a fight. The Highlassies rallied with strong shooting from Walker and Velma Mitchell to cut the Hill lead to four, 48-44, with 3:32 remaining in the game. The Lady Rebels pulled away down the stretch, closing the game on a 12-2 run to seal the win.

Sophomore Jaylonn Walker closed out her McLennan career with 26 points.

McLennan 72, Hill 59
McLennan: Javen Hedgeman 3 6-8 12; Marquez Cooper 3 3-5 10; Xaiver Armstead 6 5-6 21; Garrett Shaw 0 0-0 0; Jashawn Talton 3 3-4 9; Dayante McClellan 1 2-3 4; Daniel Pinho Severo 3 6-6 12; Jordan Skipper-Brown 1 2-2 4; Sasa Vuksanvic 0 0-0 0; Totals: 20 27-36 72.

Hill: Cheeks 0 0-0 0; Johnson 3 5-6 11; Diara 0 0-0 0; Bringham 2 0-0 4; Powell 0 0-0 0; Bailey 2 0-0 5; Rerecich 0 0-0 0; Washington 4 2-2 10; Goana 2 2-3 7; Carroll 0 0-0 0; Medlin 7 4-5 20; Larson 1 0-0 2; Totals: 21 13-16 59.

3-pointers: McLennan 5 (Armstead 4, Cooper 1), Hill 4 (Medlin 2, Goana 1, Bailey); Total fouls: McLennan 20, 17; Fouled out: Johnson (Hill); Halftime score: McLennan 35, Hill 30; Record: McLennan 26-4 (9-3).

Hill 56, McLennan 46
McLennan: Patrickia Daily 0 0-0 0; Colandria Haynes 1 0-0 3; Shekenia Green 0 0-0 0; Velma Mitchell 3 1-2 9; KeeKee Nowlin 0 2-2 2; Jaylonn Walker 8 7-8 26; Raveen Blue 0 0-0 0; Shankia Clark 0 0-0 0; Nadia Hayes 0 0-0 0; Chiqueria Cook 2 0-0 4; Anndrea Lloyd 1 0-0 2; Totals: 15 10-12 46.

Hill: Tamia Cunigan 1 3-4 5; Dameka Shed 0 0-0 0; Kelsey Crouse 4 4-4 14; Lauren Riles 0 2-4 2; Miranda Stephens 0 0-0 0; Alexa Hoy 4 3-4 11; Ari Sims-Jackson 2 1-5 5; Jade Compton 6 6-7 19; Totals: 17 19-28 56.

3-pointers: McLennan 6 (Walker 3, Mitchell 2, Haynes 1), Hill 3 (Crouse 2, Compton 1); Total fouls: McLennan 17, Hill 11; Halftime score: Hill 30, McLennan 23; Record: McLennan 14-14 (7-7).