Four Lady Cherokees sign letters of intent

Lawrence signs with Mercer

dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.comApril 21, 2014 

DAVID MITCHELL/dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.comFour Kendrick girls basketball players sign scholarships to play in college in a ceremony Monday. Pictured, from left: Donivan Dyson, Kahlia Lawrence, coach Sterling Hicks, Deja Cheatham and Ashunti Jack.

The Kendrick High girls basketball team officially turned the page on their championship season on Monday as four seniors, including one of the most prolific to ever play in the Bi-City area, signed letters of intent.

Kahlia Lawrence highlighted the class, inking with Mercer University, which she said she liked because of the comfort level, academics and opportunity to compete on a national level.

"It was a home away from home," said Lawrence, who led Kendrick to its first state championship since 2008 and second overall in program history.

"And of course, it's great academically. … (Academics are) above basketball. That's something my mom always taught me to think about."

Lawrence said she plans to major in biology and would like to be a physical therapist.

On the court, expectations are sure to be high.

As a senior, she averaged 26.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and six teals per game for the Lady Cherokees. In her three years at Kendrick, she set school records for points in a game (45), season (759) and career (2,086).

"Of course they expect some of the things I did in high school," Lawrence said.

"They expect better. I know I'm going to get better and be able to do more for my team."

Kendrick assistant coach Art Thomason in his introduction of Lawrence at the signing ceremony called her the "spark" that Kendrick needed when she joined the team as a sophomore, and said he considered her one of the best athletes he's ever coached.

"She is one of the most respectful and intelligent young ladies that you'll ever be around," he said.

Lawrence was the All-Bi-City player of the year as a junior and senior and was the Class AA state player of the year as a senior.

Also signing on Monday were Donivan Dyson (East Georgia State), Ashunti Jack (East Georgia State) and Deja Cheatham (Valdosta State).

Dyson was also a spark for Kendrick, particularly in the state playoffs.

Coach Sterling Hicks talked about her joining the team as a junior and worrying whether she'd be able to make it through their rigorous practices.

By the end of her time at Kendrick, though, she was a key contributor in an overtime win over Greater Atlanta Christian in the state quarterfinals after Lawrence had fouled out of the game.

Jack averaged 4.2 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists per game as a senior, though the numbers don't tell the full story as one of her biggest contributions was senior leadership.

Though Lawrence was the most heralded of the signees, Hicks saved Cheatham for last at the ceremony because she was a four-year member of the team who fought through plenty of adversity in the form of injuries to be a key contributor her senior year.

She averaged 16 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3 steals per game this season en route to being named first-team All-Bi-City and All-State.

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