During a battle of top-three teams in the VISAA Division II state rankings, the Highland Hawks trailed most of the night Thursday before rallying to clinch the Delaney Athletic Conference regular season championship with a 44-38 victory over Seton’s girls basketball team on the road in Manassas. 

The No. 3 Conquistadors took an early 16-8 lead, a 23-21 halftime advantage and a 35-31 edge at the end of the third period, but No. 1 Highland took the lead for good at 38-35 with 4 minutes, 22 seconds remaining on a Kayla Soltys 3-pointer.

So Soltys has made a 3-pointer in 32 consecutive games, including the final 12 contests of last season. She has helped the Hawks build a 5-0 record in the DAC this winter and a 13-7 mark overall with an eight-game winning streak.

Soltys led them with 16 points Thursday, but Highland made only 27 percent of its field goals as a team and instead relied on 36 rebounds (15 offensive) and defense (12 steals) to win after allowing only three points in the fourth period.

“While it was a rough shooting night … our defense, tenacity and poise down the stretch allowed us to force turnovers and execute offensively,” Hawks coach Diana Martinez said. “Tonight’s game aided in our growth as a team to work on end-of-game execution, pressure free throws and playing from behind, which will be extremely helpful as we enter postseason.”

Alyssa Austin finished with eight points (4-for-5 field goal shooting) while Megan Kirby and Abby Soltys had six each. Soltys also had 12 rebounds and seven assists, while Austin had four rebounds, four steals and three assists.

McKenzie Andrews added fie rebounds while Kayla Soltys had four with three steals.

Highland boys basketball 73, Seton 56

The Highland Hawks remained undefeated in the Delaney Athletic Conference with a 73-56 victory over Seton’s boys basketball team Thursday on the road in Manassas.

They improved to 10-0 with a 19-5 record overall after taking a 21-12 lead in the first quarter, a 39-22 advantage at halftime and a 58-39 lead entering the fourth period.

“We did a nice job of controlling the pace from the beginning,” Hawks coach Brian Hooker said. “That is very important in our conference games, with every team trying to knock us off."

Cam Timmons led them with 16 points, while Darret Justice had 13, Angelo Brizzi had 12 and James Jasper had 10.

Previously, Wednesday, Highland lost 76-65 to Miller, the No. 2 team in the latest VISAA Division II state poll and the defending state champion. The No. 6 Hawks trailed only 15-14 at the end of the first quarter and 31-29 at halftime, but the Mavericks entered the fourth quarter with a 53-46 advantage.

“They are a very tough team to keep down, especially on the offensive glass,” Hooker said of Miller, which made six 3-pointers in the second half. “We proved that we can play at the highest level of the state, we just have to make sure we improve in a few areas to make things easier on ourselves.”

Brizzi led the Hawks with 21 points, Timmons had 14 and Justice had nine. Justice also had nine rebounds and six assists.

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