Myisha Hines-Allen was hoping no one would notice.
As she hobbled off the court at halftime after landing awkwardly on her ankle, all the 6-2 sophomore could think about was how she could charm Montclair coach Bianca Brown into keeping her in the game.
“I wanted to be on the court the whole game,” Hines-Allen said. “Thank God my coach saw that, too.”
Her wish granted, Hines-Allen was present and authoritative during the closing moments to help second-seeded Montclair, No. 11 in the MSG Varsity New Jersey Top 15, outlast third-seeded and 12th-ranked Mount St. Dominic for a 42-39 victory on Saturday night in the semifinals of the Essex County Tournament at Newark Tech.
The third meeting of the season between the Super Essex Conference, American Division foes unfolded in much the same fashion as their previous two encounters. Montclair (18-3) seized the lead from the outset but with Mount St. Dominic (15-8) constantly within striking distance.
Stefani Alston supplied the Mount with its first lead, 25-24, when she hit a 12-footer with 2:50 showing in the third. It was the first of eight lead changes over the balance of the contest.
After Camille McPherson converted to free throws with 3:14 showing in the fourth to put the Mount ahead, 37-36, Hines-Allen took over.
Her rejection of a shot and hustle to collect the loose ball sent Montclair the other way, where she drew a foul and made both foul shots to put the Mounties in front, 38-37 with 2:41 to go.
Kyra Hines-Allen, Myisha’s senior sister, finished inside to extend the lead to 40-37. Following a bucket from Alston that pared the deficit to one, Myisha put together a nimble drive to push the advantage to three.
She then rejected a shot on the ensuing possession and grabbed the last of her 13 rebounds with 22.2 seconds left to secure the triumph.
“We’ve had numerous talks about her role and what we need her to do,” Brown said of Myisha. “I think she’s really starting to understand and mature. Her play at the end was a prime example.”
Myisha finished with 17 points while scored 16. Alston topped the Mount with 14 points while MacPherson added 13.
Gregg Lerner covers girls basketball for MSG Varsiy. Follow him on Twitter: @GreggLerner