MONTGOMERY — Monday in Orleans, Barr-Reeve junior guard Jenna Knepp nearly posted a triple-double (finishing with 17 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds), a rare feat in basketball, especially from the guard position.
In the Lady Vikings’ season debut at Kavanaugh Kourt Tuesday, Knepp was up to her old tricks again, finishing with a game- high 18 points to lead the Class A No. 5 Vikings over Class A honorable mention Tecumseh 46-42 in overtime.
Barr-Reeve coach Mark Holt has long maintained that defenses are usually ahead of offenses early in any season, and that was evident Tuesday night. Barr-Reeve (2-0) had trouble solving the mixture of zone defenses played by the Braves, and trailed 9-8 after one quarter before a late Hannah Bullock 3-point basket staked a 17-17 tie at halftime.
“Our schedule is kind of quirky to start the year, especially watching everyone play for two weeks. Sometimes you expect your defense to carry you,” said Holt.
The Lady Vikings made a couple of adjustments at halftime, and let Knepp both run the baseline and flash to the middle of the Tecumseh (2-1) zone.
The adjustment not only allowed Knepp several shots in the lane, but also opened up possibilities for sophomores and varsity newcomers Tiara Kenney and Hannah Bullock.
Kenney finished with 10 points before fouling out, and Bullock finished with nine, all on three-point baskets.
Holt is counting on big contributions for the two for the rest of the year. “We let Tiara Kenney and Hannah Bullock play on the junior varsity last year. Most places they would have been varsity players, but it let them grow.”
A big momentum shift came in the middle of the fourth quarter with Tecumseh clinging to a 29-26 lead.
It appeared Tecumseh guard Katie Burkett had a layup that would increase the margin to five, but Cori Cummings slid in and took a charge.
The defensive play allowed the Vikings to tie the game, and eventually extend the margin to 36-32.
Tecumseh wasn’t done however, and a late bucket by Burkett sent the game to overtime tied at 36.
Overtime was controlled by the Vikings, as Knepp sliced for a short bucket and also added four free throws as Barr-Reeve quickly built a six-point lead.
Cummings also connected on a pair of late free throws to help put the game away. A late Tecumseh basket by Auriel Trible accounted for the final margin.