Hardy is used to playing on the state’s biggest stages. He’s been a member of two straight Northeast Regional championship teams and back-to-back state runner-up squads.
On Wednesday night, Hardy added another postseason game to his belt in Montgomery at the North-South All-Star game at Alabama State University’s Acadome.
Playing the shooting guard position, Hardy connected on three of his five shot attempts from the floor, including a 3-pointer for the North All-Stars. He finished with seven points and a rebound in seven minutes of action in the North’s 65-57 victory over the South.
“All the guys there were good. I liked the level of competition a lot. It was fun,” Hardy said. “I was just glad that I was chosen to show what I could do.”
The South led by as many as 14 points in the second quarter and took a 32-25 lead into the half, but the North used a 19-6 run in the third period to regain the lead and never looked back.
“They came out and jumped on us,” Hardy said. “At halftime, we cut it down to seven. Our coaches told us we needed to step it up and play defense, limit their 3-point shots, and we came back to win.”
Leading the charge for the North was Wenonah’s Derunnya Wilson. He scored 15 points and grabbed 12 boards to earn the Most Valuable Player honor for the North, which improved to 44-25 in the all-time series.
Six straight points by Wilson turned a two-point deficit into a 38-34 lead with 3:36 remaining in the third quarter.
Defense paved the way for the North, which forced 19 turnovers that included13 steals on the night.
Pickens County’s Bobby Bradford and Gadsden City’s Charlie Terrell added 11 points each for the North.
The South was led by MVP Jeremy Johnson. The Carver-Montgomery standout led all scorers with 17 points. He also added two assists, five rebounds and two steals. Southside-Selma’s Jeffery Mack also reached double figures with 11 points for the South.
North Girls 68, South Girls 67 (OT)
MONTGOMERY – After struggling at the free throw line throughout most of the game, Alliyah Smith made the most of her final two shots from the charity stripe. After being fouled with less than a second remaining in overtime, the Athens standout connected on two foul shots to give the North team a 68-67 victory over the South Wednesday at the Acadome.
Smith finished the game 11 points, including seven from the free throw line. She also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds and was named MVP for the North squad.
The North team trailed throughout the entire first half and most of the third quarter before rallying in the final period. Austin’s Takisha Jordan added a team-high 12 points for the North, which improved to 14-2 in the all-time series.
The South squad led 21-14 after the first quarter and took a 38-30 lead into the half. The North, however, used an 18-10 spurt to tie the game at 48-48 heading into the final period of play.
Neither team led by more than three points down the stretch with each team getting an opportunity to win in regulation.
In the extra period, a jumper by South MVP and Faith Academy standout Jasmine Rhodes gave her team a 67-66 lead with 30 seconds remaining to set up the final sequence.
After a miss by R.A. Hubbard’s Alexandria Gholston, the North got one more chance when Jordan came up with a steal in the final eight seconds. In the ensuing fast break, Jordan found Gholston, who missed a layup. Smith, however, was there to collect the rebound and draw a foul with a second left.
Center Point’s Keonna Farmer added 11 points for the North while Clements’ DaNeshia Malone also reached double figures with 10 points.
Rhodes led all scorers with 14 points for the South team. Straughn’s Brittany Drive added 13 while Kristen Emerson (Marbury) and Daniele Ewert (Prattville) tossed in 11 points each.