Nearly 40 years later, Hilliard made amends.
The Red Flashes’ first state basketball semifinal appearance since 1979 was a dominant showing on Wednesday, with Jacob Crews and the Red Flashes thumping Vernon 80-59 in the Class 1A game and rolling into the championship game.
Hilliard will play either Paxton or Hawthorne on Friday at 7 p.m. for the title.
The last time that Hilliard (23-3) reached the final four round, it was Vernon that it faced.
The Red Flashes lost that game 56-54 and hadn’t been back to the state semifinals since.
Consider the score settled.
Crews, Hilliard’s sensational senior wing, had a double-double (29 points, 13 rebounds) and helped the Red Flashes pull away with a stellar second half and reach their first title game since 1965.
Hilliard took control in the fourth quarter.
Up just 52-47 early in the period, Crews, Shemar Melton and Trey Rush ignited an 18-2 blitz over the next three minutes to extinguish Vernon’s hope of a win.
Melton followed with 15 points, while Jelan Jones and Rush added 13 apiece for Hilliard.
Crews, a UNF signee who has scored more than 2,000 career points in his Hilliard career that began in eighth grade, had six points in the fourth.