NEW HAVEN >> Career junior Ky’Jae Hargrove was certainly the difference maker in the Panthers’ comeback victory over city rival Hillhouse.
Hargrove scored a basket to force the game into both overtime and double overtime Wednesday. Then her layup with 2:39 left in the second extra period gave Career the lead for good as the Panthers remained unbeaten with a thrilling 52-47 SCC victory.
Hargrove finished with 18 points and three steals as Career, ranked No. 8 in the Register Top 10 Poll, improved to 6-0. The Panthers took an 8-7 lead with 2:21 left in the first quarter but trailed the remainder of the game until a Hargrove layup that put her team up 46-44 in the second overtime.
“It’s a rivalry,” Hargrove said. “In the second half, we came out strong. We had to believe in ourselves, and that’s exactly what we did.”
Career coach Steve Bethke expected a physical and emotional contest. The Panthers trailed 22-14 at halftime.
“I thought it was a real dogfight the whole game,” Bethke said. “I don’t think we necessarily played our best in the first half, but give credit to Hillhouse. They came to play in their gym. They’re a nice team. They’re long, they’re fast, they rebound the heck out of the ball. That’s a good ball club.”
— Mike Pucci (@MikePucciNHR) January 5, 2017
Tyree Allen scored on a layup to put Hillhouse up 10 (24-14) just seconds into the third quarter. After that, Career slowly chipped away at the lead, led by Hargrove, who scored six points in the quarter to cut the Hillhouse advantage to 28-27 entering the final stanza.
Hargrove’s running layup with 48 seconds left forced overtime and then Hargrove scored again, this time on a running jumper, with just seconds left to send the game into a second overtime.
“Their team goes off of the feel of Ky’Jae,” Hillhouse coach Catrina Hawley-Stewart said. “She wasn’t really scoring, she wasn’t really hitting, but then she started to pick it up, and that’s when the their team did, too.”
After the Academics (1-4) went up 10 in the third quarter, Hillhouse went into an offensive rut and didn’t resemble the team that built a lead against one of the SCC’s best teams. The Academics also missed 11 free throws.
“Missed layups, for sure,” Hawley-Stewart said. “And when we get to the free throw line, we just really, really have to start adding the points to the board. We had some missed opportunities on the free throw line.”
LaToya Dale and Tyree Allen each scored 14 points for Hillhouse. Maya Lee scored 12 points and had 10 rebounds and three blocks, while Carmen Rosemond and Kayla Franklin each scored seven points for Career.
“Obviously, it’s a big game,” Bethke said. “You have two inner-city teams, and they’re neighbors, and they play with each other all the time, and they played middle school together. So, it’s like bragging rights, so to speak.”
CAREER 52, HILLHOUSE 47
(at New Haven)
Career 8 6 13 11 6 8 – 52
Hillhouse 9 13 6 10 6 3 – 47
Maya Lee 6 0-0 12, Kayla Franklin 2 2-2 7, Carmen Rosemond 3 1-2 7, Alexis Queen 1 0-0 3, KyJae Hargrove 8 2-11 18, Kayla Williams 2 1-2 5. Totals: 22 6-17 52
Latoya Dale 4 6-11 14, Tyree Allen 3 6-6 14, Kayla Jefferson 2 3-7 7, Tenaja London 3 2-4 8, Keyshan Moore 1 0-0 2, Ranasha Fraizer 1 0-0 2. Totals: 14 17-28 47
3-point goals: Career 2 (Franklin 1, Queen 1); Hillhouse 2 (Allen 2); Records: Career 6-0; Hillhouse 1-4