Written by Justin Parker
With every win, the Hopewell Lady Titans are making it more and more difficult for anyone to catch them in the MECKA Conference race.
Friday's 54-31 win came against Hough, one of the two teams that entered the night in second place, so that only made it even better for the Titans.
Rhema Francis scored a game-high 17 points to lead Hopewell, which improved to 16-1 overall and 8-0 in the MECKA and completed the regular season sweep of its rival. Francis did a little of everything on the offensive end and had 12 points in the second half.
"She's a matchup nightmare in our conference," said Hopewell coach Tyrelle Anderson. "She can post up, can drive."
Ineesha Hankerson added 14 points for Hopewell, which was playing without starting guard Katie Dillon, who strained her back against A.L. Brown Tuesday. Hough was also without a key player, forward Emmily Cowie, who is out with a concussion. Both Cowie and Dillon are expected to return soon.
Hough (12-4, 5-3) trimmed an 11-point Hopewell lead to 20-15 in the final minute of the first half, but Hopewell turned things around before the intermission. Francis hit two free throws to make it 22-15 with 3.9 seconds left, and then Erin Thames stole the inbounds pass and Kelsie Ruff-Mills scored on a layup at the horn to make it 24-15.
"That was definitely a swing," said Anderson.
Hopewell outscored Hough 30-16 from there.
Gabby Gianikos led the Huskies with 12 points.
Robinson may be the only remaining threat to Hopewell in the regular season title hunt. The Bulldogs defeated Vance 53-30 Friday and are two games back in the MECKA (6-2).
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