Mattie Kennedy’s 1,000th career point couldn’t have come at a better moment for Carroll County’s basketball team.
With her Cavaliers trailing 25-24 to a pesky Cave Spring squad, the Carroll County senior calmly stepped out of a timeout, caught a pass on the right wing and canned a 3-pointer that gave her the team a 27-25 lead it would not relinquish. The Lady Cavs would go on to win the River Ridge District opener 65-53 in Hillsville as the Carroll senior etched her name in the record books alongside Erin Gibson, Ingrid Easter, Kayla Goins and Lindsay Martin as the only players in school history to reach the 1,000-point career milestone.
“I had no idea it was my 1,000th point. I honestly thought Mr. Webb, our buzzer keeper, had made a mistake or I had gotten in trouble for something,” said Kennedy after the game. “I haven’t been shooting well for the past few games, had been out during the offseason with an injury, so I guess it was as good a time as any to come back and shoot well. I am just glad we won.”
Aside from the major milestone, it ended up being a big night for Kennedy in other ways. With the winless Knights shooting better than 50 percent (19-of-37) for the first three quarters against the Cavaliers’ traditionally stout defense, Carroll needed every one of Kennedy’s game-high 22 points. She also led the way for a 3-point barrage, knocking down five of Carroll’s 10 baskets from downtown.
“She really played tonight. I was very, very impressed. That is as well as she has played this year and at least since playoffs last year,” Carroll County head coach Marc Motley said. “She is just now getting her legs back. She’s been hurt since late June and she is really just getting back into the flow. Her shot hadn’t been there this year but it seemed to come back tonight and I hope it stays there for a while.”
Keely Lundy, who added 19 points for Carroll (3-1, 1-0 River Ridge District), added a 3-pointer, Kenda Robinson tacked on an old-fashioned 3-point play, and Kennedy drilled another trey just before the half to put the Cavs in front 37-31. Carroll caught fire during a 10-2 run to open the third quarter on 3-pointers by Kennedy and Mariah Carter and baskets by Lundy and Jade Holt to up the lead to 47-33. Cave Spring (0-4) never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.
“When you’ve got Mattie and Keely both going on the same night, they had 41 between the two of them, you feel pretty good about your chances,” Motley said, noting Lundy was just 21 points away from the 1,000-point milestone herself after the Cave Spring game. “There were college scouts in the stands tonight and Mattie knew it. She really came to shine. She’s been a leader for us for four years now. I threw her out there and said the ball is in your hands as a freshman, for you to make the mistakes or make the plays, and she has done it for us. We have had a lot of success with her being there. That is well-deserved and she deserves all the accolades she gets. You never have to worry about whether she is going to play hard or not.”
While Cave Spring continually made tough shots to keep the contest close, the Cavaliers won the game from outside (making 10 3-pointers to three for the Knights) and at the free throw line (shooting 22 free throws to just three for Cave Spring). Part of the problem for the Cavalier defense was trying to contain Cave Spring’s Reagan Delp, who finished with a team-high 16 points.
“She is a really, really good player and we knew that coming in. She had 16 points but she is a much more talented kid than just 16 points. She created shots for them all night long and we were putting our best defenders on her, trying to stay in front of her,” Motley said. “She was driving down and pulling up and shooting 15-footers or she was creating shots and just finding the open man. They played well. You have to give them some credit.”
Kenda Robinson added 11 points for Carroll County, while Carter chipped in nine more.
C. Spring 14 17 11 9 – 53
Carroll Co. 18 19 18 10 – 65
Cave Spring – Delp 8 0-0 16, Hertzberg 2 0-0 5, Barnhart 1 2-2 4, Pollard 3 0-0 6, Lachowicz 2 0-0 6, Landsman 4 0-0 8, Mooney 4 0-1 9. 3-pointers – Barnhart 2, Mooney 1.
Carroll County – Lundy 6 4-6 19, Robinson 3 4-4 11, M. Kennedy 7 3-4 22, Carter 3 2-6 9, Holt 1 0-0 2, A. Kennedy 1 0-2 2. 3-pointers – M. Kennedy 5, Lundy 3, Carter 1, Robinson 1.