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High-scoring trio powers Hillcrest past Tuscaloosa County

Tuscaloosa County’s Katie Krout (33) is pressured by Hillcrest defenders including Kyeisha Mills (10), Charity Brown (12) and Ambrica Johnson, right. On the offensive end, Johnson, Mills and Brown combined for 65 points. (Photo by Michelle Lepianka Carter)

NORTHPORT | Senior guard Ambrica Johnson set the example for a couple of younger teammates Friday night, and all three contributed to a victory for the Hillcrest High School girls basketball team.

Johnson, sophomore guard Kyeisha Mills and freshman guard Charity Brown combined for 65 points as the Lady Patriots defeated Tuscaloosa County 74-40 in a Class 6A, Area 13 game.

Johnson led all scorers with 25 points. Mills and Brown scored 20 points each.

Johnson started the game by making two 3-pointers and a basket to stake the Lady Patriots to an 8-3 lead. She scored nine points in the second quarter, with two coming on a steal and layup. Hillcrest (13-7, 2-0) built its lead to 32-23 by halftime.

Hillcrest scored 26 points in the third quarter. Brown had nine points. Mills scored six, and the Lady Patriots had a 58-36 lead after three quarters.

"We’ve been working on getting some things done from the inside as well as from the perimeter," Hillcrest coach Jerome Elliott said. "Those three people that were involved in that burst of offense proved that the things we’ve been working on in the last week and a half or so came to fruition.

"I was really proud of what we did defensively. Our offense started off a little slow. Our defense really kicked in in the second half and gave us an opportunity to really do some positive things."

Mills accounted for eight points in the fourth quarter as Hillcrest outscored the Lady Wildcats 16-4.

Post player Katie Krout scored 10 points to lead TCHS (11-7, 1-2). Katlyn Madison added nine points. Shakirra Thomas had eight points, and Destiny Richardson scored seven.

"They played a four- or five-guard lineup a few times," TCHS coach Jacob Haas said. "I had to keep my big (Krout) on the court. She’s my best player. With that, we tried to trade offense for defense. They were hitting their shots, and we weren’t.

“We were having trouble getting the ball down in the post. We had a lot of turnovers throwing the ball down in the post, but when a guard’s guarding your big you have an advantage. You’ve got to try to take advantage of it. We just couldn’t do it.”

TCHS plays at Holy Spirit on Monday. Hillcrest plays at Northridge on Tuesday.

Reach Andrew Carroll at or at 205-722-0223.