One look at the final score of the girls game of the 7th annual Herbert Greene All-Star Basketball Game -- played Friday night at Carver High -- was all it took to realize the Alabama All-Stars got "Kendricked."
The Georgia All-Stars, led by Kendrick High coach Sterling Hicks and with a roster featuring four Lady Cherokees among its ranks, utilized Kendrick's trademark pressure defense and fast-paced tempo to steamroll Alabama, 75-46, in the opening game of the all-star doubleheader. The boys game was still in progress at press time.
"(Wearing opponents down) is the gameplan," said Hicks, whose team outscored Alabama 35-14 in the 20-minute second half.
"Playing hard on both ends of the court, plus it being an all-star game, gives everybody an opportunity to play.
"Sometimes in all-star games you might not get to play as much as you like, but our style of play allows us to get everybody a lot of playing time."
Alabama led 28-27 with 4:39 to go in the first half after a pair of free throws by Central's Erin Spencer, but Georgia scored the next 11 points -- including seven straight by Kendrick's Kahlia Lawrence -- to go up 38-28 and eventually take a 40-32 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Tatyana Griffin of Spencer led Georgia with 11 points, Lawrence added nine and the duo of Northside's Taylor Jakes and Kendrick's Donovan Dyson pitched in seven apiece.
Auburn High's TyAmber Willis paced the Alabama All-Stars with seven points in the first 20 minutes, while Opelika's Kamerian WIlliams and Spencer netted six apiece as Alabama tried to keep pace.
"Playing with girls from all these different teams was really exciting and fun," said Griffin.
"I was excited to get to play with all of them. I didn't feel like I had to go out there and try to do everything. It was fun to play with people who love the game as much as I do."
Alabama got no closer than eight points in the second half, as Hicks continually substituted multiple players in and out of the game and his team kept applying full-court pressure, leading to many easy baskets.
Georgia broke the game wide open with a 9-0 run that put it up 58-40 midway through the second half and its lead continued to grow through the remainder of the game.
"Coaching girls from all these different teams was different for me," said Hicks. "It was a good opportunity to coach girls that normally we're playing against. Some of them were even better than I thought. It's always good when the kids are able to come out and showcase their skills.
Lawrence won the 3-point shooting contest at halftime by making 13 3-pointers in a minute and led four double-digit scorers for Georgia with 15 points. Griffin was named the game's Most Valuable Player after finishing with 13 points, Jakes pitched in 12 and Dyson had 11 as 10 Georgia players found the scoring column in the romp. Spencer was the high scorer for Alabama with nine points and Glenwood's Tamara York chipped in eight.
There will be another senior all-star game tonight at Harris County featuring a team from Muscogee County versus a squad of Georgia/Alabama All-Stars. Tipoff for the girls game is scheduled for 6 p.m. and admission is $7.
Friday at Carver High
Georgia 75, Alabama 46
Alabama 32 14 -- 46
Georgia 40 35 -- 75
Adams 2, Williams 6, Benton 2, Willis 7, Bess 3, Pleasant 2, Spencer 9, Hickson 5, Carr 2, York 8. Totals 16 13-28 46.
Davis 6, Taylor Jakes 12, Tatyana Griffin 13, Elmore 4, Hammond 2, Jack 4, Kahlia Lawrence 15, Donovan Dyson 11, Lacy 2, Blair 6. Totals 25 24-29 75.
LATE FRIDAY GEORGIA BOYS WIN A close contest between the Georgia and Alabama boys teams at the Herbert Greene All-Star basketball event ended late on Friday night with the Georgia squad coming out on top 101-95. Kendrick High, which was featured prominently in the girls contest with a handful of participating players and Sterling Hicks as the Georgia coach, again stole the show for the boys. The Cherokees Jontavis Miles was the games most valuable player and winner of the three-point contest. He hit 15 three-pointers in a minute to win the event. His totals for the game, as well as those for the rest of the players, are unavailable as they were not kept during the game.