By Kyle Parmley
TRUSSVILLE –Senior point guard Cayla Dillard sensed her team needed a lift.
She provided that lift, scoring eight straight points late in the fourth quarter to give Hewitt-Trussville the lead for good, as they knocked off Vestavia Hills 59-54 inside Bryant Bank Arena on Tuesday night.
“As a point guard, you have to know when to pass the ball and when to shoot the ball. Your role is to pass the ball until you figure out that your team needs points,” Dillard said.
Trailing by two with fewer than three minutes to play, the senior leader took control. Moving quickly up the floor after a Vestavia basket, she immediately pulled up a step to the right of the top of the key and drilled a 3-pointer. In almost the exact same fashion the next possession, she cashed in another triple, and the Lady Huskies didn’t trail again.
Hewitt-Trussville trailed 43-39 heading into the final period, but outscored the Lady Rebels 20-11 in the final quarter to claim the victory.
“It was what we needed. We got off to a slow start, but in the fourth quarter we got them in foul trouble and were able to attack them,” she said.
The 1,000-point scorer also had a strong first quarter to bookend her effort, as she scored six in the opening frame to finish with 14 points.
Hewitt-Trussville played tenacious defense the entire game, picking up 12 steals, including three each from Gabby Hill and Briana Howard, who each had standout performances.
“We’ve been working on it all year,” head coach Tonya Hunter said. “They are progressing and getting comfortable with what I am asking for.”
Howard closed out the game with a monster fourth quarter on the boards, as she ripped down seven rebounds. She finished with a double-double, as she racked up 13 points and 12 rebounds overall. Hill had an equally sensational game, falling only a rebound short of her own double-double, with her stat line coming to rest at 10 points and nine boards.
“I have been expecting this from her,” Hunter said of Howard. “I know she is capable. I am so glad she’s getting in rhythm and knowing what her role is. It’s helping us tremendously.”
Kaitlin Hogan poured in a game-high 20 points for Vestavia Hills, including a long 3-pointer at the final horn that proved inconsequential. Hogan and Jessica Compton each knocked down three shots from behind the arc. Compton finished the game with 17 points.
The Lady Huskies did a solid job making plays through the foul in the first half, converting a pair of and-one baskets. Dillard received a long pass in stride in the opening quarter and drove to the hoop, making the layup while taking the contact. In the second quarter, Dillard drove the middle of the lane and made a nice bounce pass to Kimberly Duffett, who put the ball in off the glass following a push. Duffett contributed seven points in the win.
Eighth-grader Morgan Kirk made it to the free throw line in each quarter, and scored seven for the Lady Huskies. Teammate Bailey Berry provided an early spark off the bench, scoring all five of her points in the first quarter.
Hewitt-Trussville is back in action Friday night, as the Lady Huskies will travel to Mountain Brook. Tipoff in Spartan Arena is scheduled for 6 p.m.