By Michael Calhoun, sports intern
SPAIN PARK – The Hewitt-Trussville Huskies’ season ended on Wednesday night in a first-round loss to Vestavia Hills, 58-55, in the Class 7A, Area 6 tournament.
With the loss, the Huskies end the year 19-9 and have now failed to reach the state tournament for the first time since the 2014-15 season. Vestavia Hills advances into the championship game against host Spain Park.
Behind a barrage of 3-pointers, Vestavia Hills was able to withstand a late Hewitt-Trussville run, led by Amiya Payne, and hold off a Huskies team that advanced into the state tournament championship game this past season.
Much like the first meeting of the season between the two teams back on Jan. 7, the game started off slow. A slew of fouls by both squads bogged down the flow of the game. As such, Vestavia Hills ended the low-scoring first quarter with a 12-9 lead. In that opening quarter, Payne had six of Hewitt-Trussville’s nine points and recorded a couple of blocks.
Payne finished her junior season with 19 total points on the night.
Her evening took a brief hiatus late in the second quarter after she ended up in foul trouble and was forced to sit down with 3:07 to go before halftime. Undaunted, Hewitt-Trussville promptly took the lead after an and-one layup by Audreonia Benson that gave the Huskies a brief 21-20 advantage. That lead was quickly erased after a Vestavia Hills 3-pointer.
Vestavia Hills would head into halftime nursing a 27-25 lead.
The Rebels extended that lead to 35-29 in the third quarter thanks to an 8-2 run, but the Huskies were able to mitigate the damage and head into the fourth quarter trailing by just four points, 45-41.
Despite playing with four fouls, Payne took control for Hewitt-Trussville and used a personal 6-0 run to give the Huskies a lead in the fourth quarter at 51-50. But that ultimately was not enough as Vestavia Hills regained control and weathered the Huskies’ late run and desperation heave at the buzzer to book its ticket into the area championship game and the state tournament.
Senior Erica Jones added 11 points in her final game with Hewitt-Trussville.
Three Huskies were named to the regular season All-Area team: Payne, Jones and Jordan Hunter.