Published: Feb 28, 2012 02:08 PM
Modified: Feb 28, 2012 02:26 PM
CARY - Green Hope's girls' basketball team beat Durham Hillside 54-45 in a North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A Mideast Sectional final that was eerily similar to a year ago, but this time the finish was marred by an postgame fight involving players.
Green Hope star Kristen Gaffney left the game in the second quarter with an injury just as she did a year ago. Tempers flared after her knee injury.
"It got ugly with the emotions," Green Hope coach Mike Robinson said. "I don't like that it happened that way. No one wants to see that happen."
After the post-game handshakes, Hillside's Jordyn Smith and Gaffney had an altercation. Police officers and school administrators intervened.
Gaffney was injured with 5 minutes, 27 seconds left in the second quarter when she was working for position in the lane. She had to be helped off the court and to the locker room. A fan who confronted Hillside coach Ovester Grays was escorted from the court by a Cary police officer and Green Hope athletics director Wayne Bragg.
Gaffney had 11 points when she left the game with Hillside leading 16-15. But Green Hope took a 26-23 halftime lead as junior point guard Ashley Williams took over the game en route to finishing with 30 points.
Williams, who didn't score in the first quarter, scored all of her points after Vanderbilt-bound Gaffney was injured.
She scored nine in the second quarter, including a three-quarters court length shot at the halftime buzzer. She added 11 in the third and 10 in the fourth.
Williams also controlled the ball down the stretch as the Falcons' worked the clock after a timeout with a 48-40 lead and 4:20 to play in the game.
No one else was in double figures for Green Hope, but Sidney Durand scored 3 points with seven rebounds and one steal.
Morgan McGee topped Hillside with 16 points.
Green Hope (28-2) advances to the 4A regional semifinals and will play at 8:30 p.m. today in Fayetteville's Crown Arena against Hope Mills South View.