Taylorsville • Hillcrest’s gritty 45-31 victory over Cyprus was the Huskies’ first postseason victory in more than 14 years.
Hillcrest senior Whitney Nemelka wanted to make an impression — a physical one — after her team’s first-round exit last year.
The Huskies trailed throughout the first quarter until the final seconds when Britteny Dalgleish dropped a bucket at the buzzer.
Hillcrest went to work shutting down Cyprus in the second quarter. The Huskies held the Pirates to a single basket to grab an 11-point lead at the intermission.
“We just don’t let people push us around,” Nemelka said. “Finally this year, we needed to start fighting back to be in the game with them.”
Hillcrest coach Dave Richardson argued Nemelka and Madison Shaw are two of the best guards in the state. He depends on them to captain the toughness on defense that is becoming the Huskies’ trademark.
“We play great defense,” Richardson said. “I think we are ranked third in defense, and that’s what we stress.”
Hillcrest senior Megan Lloyd imposed her will upon the Pirates under the basket. Lloyd finished with nine points, but more importantly cleared out the paint by pulling in 12 rebounds.
“She’s tough, she’s mean,” Richardson said.
Helping Lloyd clearing out under the rim was Mryssa McVey. After coming off surgery last year, the 6-foot-1 center has found her place blocking shots and bringing in rebounds. Richardson thinks she is a perfect balance of toughness and offense. McVey finished with 13 points.
“She’s an animal,” Richardson said. “She is able to get in the right position and make her presence felt.”