Hornets edge Indians for girls D-VII title

Sydney Miller had a game-high 20 points for the Hornets.

Sydney Miller had a game-high 20 points for the Hornets.

The first two times the Happy Camp Indians and Surprise Valley Hornets met this season, the games went Happy Camp’s way. The squads met again on Saturday at Shasta College for the NSCIF D-VII championship. Like the previous meetings, the game was close. However, this time it was the #5 Hornets that were victorious 41-38.

The first quarter was a low-scoring back and forth battle. Almost halfway through the period, it was tied 4-4. A put-back by Brittany Barnett gave the #2 Indians the lead. Two hoops in a row by Lydia Townsend put Surprise Valley on top 8-6 heading into the second stanza.

The Hornets led 13-11 with 3:15 to go in the second, when they started to gain a tiny bit of separation. Two from the charity stripe by Sydney Miller made it 15-11. Baskets by Townsend and Maddison Seely extended the Hornet lead to eight points, 19-11. The Indians responded with buckets from Emily Stone and Maddy Offield to close the gap to two possessions, 19-15, going into the intermission.

Surprise Valley regained its eight-point margin early in the third quarter, 25-17. At that point, the Indian offense came to life. Katelyn McIntyre started an 8-0 run with a freebie. Offield grabbed a rebound and went coast-to-coast for a 3-point play the hard way, 25-21. Offield came up with a steal and dished to Mariah Mattson for a bucket. A basket by Offield tied the game 25-25 with 2:40 to go in the period.

Miller broke the streak with a score for the Hornets, 27-25. Offield knotted it again at 27-27. Maddison Seely scored for the Hornets and Mattson answered for the Indians, making it a 29-29 game heading into the final frame.

The biggest play of the game came at the start of the fourth quarter. Miller drove the lane and went up with one of her signature floaters. Offield was in perfect defensive position to take the charge. Miller drove into Offield’s chest. The the players hit the floor, the ball went in, and everyone stood there waiting for the charge call that never came. Happy Camp knew it was a charge. Surprise Valley knew it was a charge. The random guy that wandered into the gym thinking there was a rock concert knew it was a charge. Yet, the officials just stood there with a deer in the headlights look, making neither a charge nor a block call.

A charge call would’ve have given Miller, Surprise Valley’s best player by far, her fourth foul. Instead, the Hornets gained a 31-29 advantage. Miller picked up her fourth foul with 2:09 to play, and fouled out with a few seconds to go in the contest.

Happy Camp came back to take the lead, 35-33, on a basket by Katelyn McIntyre with 3:05 to go. Miller made it a one-point game with a free throw, and at 2:20 put the Hornets up for good with a basket, 36-35. A freebie by Hallie Seely was followed by a pair from the line by Miller, 39-35. Barnett brought the Indians within a basket, 39-37, with 47 ticks on the clock. Miller dropped in her final point from the line, 40-37. Sequoyah Darden hit a free throw with 39 seconds left, 40-38. Hallie Seely finished out the scoring for the game with a freebie for a final of 41-38.

Miller had a game-high 20 points, including nine in the fourth quarter. Hallie Seely finished with 10, and Townsend scored six for the Hornets. Surprise Valley was 11/24 from the charity stripe.

Offield and Barnett each scored 11 points for the Indians. Mattson had five. Happy Camp was 6/15 at the stripe.

Surprise Valley finished the season at 9-10. Happy Camp was 12-9.

BTW: Surprise Valley is likely to be pretty good for a while. The Hornets only have six players, but four are frosh and two are sophomores.

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