Kendrick girls cruise past Rabun County 90-34 in second round

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerFebruary 24, 2014 

It took Rabun County exactly 97 seconds Monday night to realize it wasn't in Tiger territory anymore.

That's all the time it took for homestanding Kendrick to build a 6-0 advantage in its second round game in the Class AA state tournament, and the Lady Cherokees never looked back en route to a 90-34 dismantling of the Lady Wildcats (18-10) to advance to Wednesday's Elite 8 matchup against Greater Atlanta Christian (22-6). Tipoff for that game -- also at Kendrick -- hasn't been announced yet, but most likely will be at 6 p.m.

"One of the things we did well tonight was that we scored more points than the other team," said Sterling Hicks, whose team has an average margin of victory of close to 50 points per contest this season. "Once the game gets over with, I tend to focus more on what we did wrong and what we need to fix rather than what we did right. When you run the floor and be aggressive like we are, you're going to score a lot of points. We have to do a better job of limiting our turnovers and we have to take more shots. When you turn the ball over, those are missed shot opportunities."

Kendrick (28-0) was never threatened in the game, as it scored 18 of the game's first 20 points and led 20-4 after the opening eight minutes. Rabun County -- which rode four-plus hours from Northeast Georgia to get to Columbus -- managed to break the Lady Cherokees' press a little more consistently in the second quarter, but Kendrick still outscored the Lady Wildcats 24-17 in the period to lead 44-21 at halftime. Kahlia Lawrence had 11 points despite picking up three fouls, Donovan Dyson netted seven and the trio of Marganique McKissic, Brittany Thompson and Deja Cheatham had six apiece for Kendrick in the first two quarters.

The Lady Cherokees didn't take their foot off the gas pedal coming out the locker room, as Kendrick scored the first 20 points of the second half to go up 64-21 before Rabun County finally got a basket from Molly Vinson with 2:53 to go in the period to temporarily stop the bleeding. For the quarter, Kendrick outscored Rabun County 28-4 to open up a 72-25 lead heading to the fourth quarter. Lawrence was the sparkplug for the Lady Cherokees offense in the quarter, scoring 10 of her game-high 21 points in the frame.

For the second straight game, the fourth quarter was only six minutes long due to the GHSA's mercy rule. That didn't stop Kendrick from scoring 18 more points to crack the 90-point barrier. Fourteen of the Lady Cherokees' 15 players scored at least two points and seven of those 14 scored at least five points.

"Everybody contributed to this win," said Hicks. "It was good to see some of the other kids who might not play as much get out there and do well for us. I'm glad they did that because we play a lot of kids and you never know who you might have to rely on to help win you a game. I tell all of them before each game to be ready because you never know when it might be your turn."

After Lawrence's 21 points, Thompson scored 13, Dyson finished with 11 and Cheatham pitched in 10 for the Lady Cherokees. Riley Chlupacek was Rabun County's only double-digit scorer, finishing with 10 points.

Monday at Kendrick

Rabun County 4 17 4 9--34

Kendrick 20 24 28 18--90

Rabun County (34)

Dillard 4, Reeves 4, Scott 5, Riley Chlupacek 10, Vinson 2, Woods 1, Woerner 4, Ramey 4. Totals 13 6-12 34.

Kendrick (90)

A. Jones 2, Kahlia Lawrence 21, Thomason 2, Baker 2, Donovan Dyson 11, McKissic 6, Babauta 3, Murph 2, M. Jones 5, Brittany Thompson 13, Jack 7, FArley 3, Deja Cheatham 10, Draper 3. Totals 33 22-33 90.

Records: Rabun County 18-10, Kendrick 28-0; Next: Greater Atlanta Christian (22-6) at Kendrick (Class AA State Tournament Second Round), Wednesday 6 p.m.

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