WC girls sweep Bethlehem, can’t hang with top-ranked Lady Knights

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By Brandon Mattingly


Washington County @ Marion County
72-17 Marion County
When: Saturday, Jan. 5
Where: Marion County High School
Game highlights: The Washington County girls’ basketball team (7-5) visited border rival and No. 1-ranked team in the state, Marion County (15-0), on Saturday, taking a lopsided 72-17 loss. Game info was unavailable at press time, but Commanderette Head Coach Bernard Smalley said his team didn’t show up with the same mentality it had in a 20-point win at Bethlehem the night before.

“We didn’t compete,” he said. “We had the deer-in-the-headlights look, basically. Marion County is a great ballclub; probably one of the top-two in the nation, but still, you’ve got to go out and compete and we didn’t.”

Washington County @ Bethlehem
53-33 Washington County
When: Friday, Jan. 4
Where: Bethlehem High School
Key players: WCHS - Jennifer Keene, Kenya Turner, Riquel Logan BHS - MacKenzie Hagan
Game highlights: Washington County improved its district record to 4-1 with a 53-33 win at Bethlehem on Friday, moving two-and-a-half games ahead of Bethlehem and Thomas Nelson for the two seed in the district tournament next month. The Commanderettes remained a half-game back of Nelson County for the top seed with the teams facing off on Tuesday after press time.

“I thought our kids came out for a district game focused and came ready to play,” Smalley said.

The Banshees delivered the first punch in Washington County’s win on Friday, taking a 6-2 lead in the opening two minutes, but that was the last time they’d be out front the rest of the way. Washington County pounded the ball inside to senior Kenya Turner and junior Jennifer Keene, who led them on a 10-0 run to finish the opening quarter with a 12-6 lead.

A steal and a layup by WC freshman Nic Brizendine between a pair of Commanderette three-pointers to start the second quarter helped push the run to 19-0 before Bethlehem hit a short jump shot midway through the period to snap the run. The damage was done, however, and Washington County went into intermission with a 27-10 advantage.

“Bethlehem came out of the gate and hit a couple of shots and we got behind, but we settled down a little bit and was able to get the ball inside,” Smalley said. “We knew they were going to double-down on Kenya (Turner), but Jennifer (Keene) came out with 13 first-half points and played well.”

Washington County put the game out of reach midway through the third quarter behind three three-pointers from junior Riquel Logan to take a 43-17 lead.

Keene led Washington County with 15 points, as Turner and Logan pitched in with 13 a piece. Hagan led the way for Bethlehem with 10 points, followed by Simpson’s eight.

The Commanderettes will be back on the court on Monday at 6 p.m. to host Green County (8-6) in the first round of the 5th Region All-A Classic.