||Facing a 10-point deficit to Masters School entering the fourth quarter of the Hill Tournament championship game, The Hill girls’ basketball team’s veteran leadership took control. Co-captains Qiana Vigo ’19 and Alexa Giacche ’19, along with post-graduate Olivia Matto ’19, combined to score 17 of the team’s 23 fourth-quarter points, while on the other end of the floor Hill limited Masters to just 10 points in the final frame.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the scoreboard in Gillison Gym read 63-58 in favor of the home team. Hill had completed the improbable comeback, utilizing a 25-8 run over the game’s final 6:35 to win the Hill Tournament for the second time in the past three seasons.
Masters jumped out to an early lead and held a two-point advantage, 19-17, at the end of the first quarter. The visitors continued to pull away throughout the middle two frames, holding a 33-28 lead at halftime that they extended to 48-38 after three.
Following a poor rebounding sequence from Hill, Masters scored on a rebound to take a 50-38 lead with just under seven minutes remaining, their largest lead of the game. A key ingredient for a comeback is improved defensive effort, and after allowing the early basket Hill committed to playing tighter defensively and forced Masters to take several shots from the perimeter throughout the game’s final minutes.
Matto drained a three on the next possession, providing the offensive spark Hill needed. The next four possessions resulted Masters missing a pair of shots and Hill netting a pair of shots to cut the Masters lead to five points. A suddenly energized crowd further turned momentum in Hill’s favor, and following a Giacche layup Hill had trimmed the Masters lead to just three points.
With 3:02 remaining, Masters hit a pair of free throws to take a 55-51 lead. Vigo hit a three point shot on Hill’s next possession and drained a layup with 90 seconds remaining to give Hill its first lead since the game’s second minute. A Violet Robertson ’19 three gave Hill a 60-55 lead and, although Masters hit a three on its next possession, that was all the closer the visitors would get. After working the shot clock to single digits, Vigo banked a runner off the glass to restore the two-possession lead for Hill. Masters turned the ball over on its next possession and, with just 16 seconds left, was forced to foul. Vigo scored her team-high 18th point on the front end of a one-and-one, giving Hill a 63-58 lead in what ended up being the final bucket of the game.
Matto, who finished the game with 16 points, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Giacche finished with 10 points and Aine Farrell ’22 scored nine points in the victory.