When Kendrick lost Brittany Thompson to an ankle injury in its game against Smiths Station on Monday in the MLK Classic, it briefly lost its way. After all, coach Sterling Hicks said after the game, she is the rudder that steer’s the ship.
Still, the rest of the team was able to rebound after a brief lull to hang on for a 63-49 win over the Lady Panthers. It was a game that Hicks called “ugly,” but also one he said he’d gladly take.
“It was just really ugly, that’s all,” he said. “We’ll gladly take any win we can get, though.”
The team has had plenty already this season. Monday’s was its 18th, improving to 18-1 overall this year. Smiths Station fell to 14-8.
Thompson had scored all four of her points in the first half before rolling her ankle and hitting the deck in the third quarter, briefly bringing the game to a halt while she was examined on the court. She left the game and never returned, and the Lady Cherokees briefly suffered for her absence.
Trailing by 17 early in the third quarter, Smiths Station went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 38-28. Kendrick got the lead back briefly to 17 and led 45-31 at the end of the quarter.
In the fourth, the Lady Panthers chipped away again. Quan Holton scored five of her team-high 16 points in a row over the course of 30 seconds, and Lackijia Jones knocked down her only basket of the night 20 seconds later to cut Kendrick’s lead to 49-41.
“When she went down, I think we just got a little discombobulated,” Hicks said. “She’s our leader, and I think we just kind of lost our way a bit.”
Still, Kendrick finished strong, getting a handful of big players from Raven Baker and Kiara Price down the stretch to hang on for the 14-point victory. Baker and Price combined for 12 of the team’s 18 points in the final frame.
“They’re capable of getting the job done when they’re needed,” Hicks said of Baker and Price.
Baker finished with a game-high 19, and Destiny Murph added 12 for the Lady Cherokees. Alonie Sutton added 13 for Smiths Station.
Now, Kendrick’s attention turns toward a big region game against Central-Macon on Tuesday, for which Thompson may not be ready, according to Hicks.
“She may not be able to go,” he said. “She’s our leader and sometimes there’s a letdown. Hopefully, we’ll be able to regroup and play better tomorrow.”
STOCKBRIDGE BOYS 74, SMITHS STATION 67: The Smiths Station boys ran out of steam late in their game against Stockbridge on Monday in the MLK Classic, losing 74-67.
The Panthers were led in the loss by Stephon Jackson’s 22 points, Quoyai Shorter’s 17 and Airen Brooks’ 14. Stockbridge was led by Jadon Davis’ 22 and Virgil Fields’ 18.
Smiths Station returns to action on Wednesday at Valley.
Monday at Harris County Middle
Smiths Station 6 15 10 18—49
Kendrick 14 20 11 18—63
Smiths Station (49)
Quan Holton 16, Alonie Sutton 13, Mack 9, Stephens 4, Jones 2, Bates 2, Williamson 1.
Raven Baker 19, Destiny Murph 12, Oriyana Babatua 11, Jabreia Burston 10, Price 5, Thompson 4, Minor 2.
Records: Smiths Station, 14-8, 1-1; Kendrick, 18-1, 10-0. Next: Smiths Station, Wednesday at Valley; Kendrick, Tuesday at Central-Macon.
Monday at Harris County Middle
Stockbridge 13 15 22 24—74
Smiths Station 13 20 11 23—67
Jadon Davis 22, Virgil Fields 18, Hoe 9, Calloway 8, Dawson 7, Ivery 6, Wyatt 4.
Smiths Station (67)
Stephon Jackson 22, Quoyai Shorter 17, Airen Brooks 14, Peabody 9, Pringle 3, Brown 2.
Records: Stockbridge, 9-7, 6-3; Smiths Station, 7-13, 0-2. Next: Smiths Station, Wednesday at Valley.