It's rare for any team to beat the same opponent five times in one season, but the Lady Hawks did it.
Hillgrove had one of its better shooting performances of the season in Saturday's Class AAAAA state quarterfinal, beating its Region 4AAAAA rival again, this time by a 57-33 decision at Fort Valley State University.
Hillgrove (25-4) set the tone in its fifth meeting with North Cobb (22-9) by shooting 55 percent in the field in the first half. Meredith Heyer and Celina Rodrigo each scored 16 points each to lead the Lady Hawks, while Mackenzie Engram contributed 14 points.
"I think (Hillgrove) had more 2s in the first half than we did the whole ballgame," North Cobb coach Matt Williams said.
Hillgrove will now have four days to rest before its next test, Friday's semifinal-round game against North Gwinnett at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
A win there could then set the Lady Hawks with another potential opponent their all too familiar with. Archrival McEachern plays Norcross in the other semifinal.
A quick 6-0 lead in the second minute of the game, capped by Meredith Heyer's layup off a steal, prompted North Cobb to call timeout. However, neither timeouts nor any defensive adjustment the Lady Warriors employed could rattled the Hillgrove offense in the first half.
The only time North Cobb threatened Hillgrove was midway through the first quarter, when the Lady Warriors got hot offensively. After trailing 10-1, Amber Reeves, Briah Woods and Taylor Gordon each hit 3-pointers to cut Hillgrove's lead to 13-12.
It was all Lady Hawks afterwards, though.
Hillgrove went on a 12-0 run that started late in the first quarter, and North Cobb never recovered. Heyer accounted for half of those points when she swished a pair of 3s from the right corner. Ingram and Rodrigo scored the other six points, producing a 35-26 halftime lead.
"The kids played well," Hillgrove coach Sheryl Fowler said. "We took control at the beginning of the game and never let up. When you get a lead like that against a team like North Cobb, you better take it, because they can turn a game around in a New York minute."
North Cobb was still in contention going into the third quarter and made the defensive adjustments it needed to slow down Hillgrove's shooting barrage.
The problem is, the Lady Warriors couldn't manufacture the points they needed to get back in it. They were 2-for-13 from the field in the third quarter and 1-for-4 on the free-throw line.
The Lady Hawks put the game out of reach with a 12-2 run to start the third quarter. Heyer's fourth 3 of the game put them in front by 12, and they maintained the double-digit lead the rest of the way.
"We had to pick it up defensively in the second half, and we did," Williams said. "We held them to 22, but we couldn't score in the second half."
Gordon led North Cobb with 21 points. Reeves had eight first-half points, but she was held scoreless in the second.