Kingwood girls undefeated

Coach Jerry Stearns knew his Kingwood Christian girls basketball team had a chance to have a good year.

The Lions returned all five starters, including star freshman Hannah Phillips, and got Lindsay Gorecki back from knee surgery after playing without her last season.

&uot;I thought we had a chance to have an excellent team,&uot; Stearns said.

And so far, at the regular season’s midway point, they haven’t disappointed.

A 7-0 start earned Kingwood a No. 7 ranking in the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s latest poll.

They entered last weekend’s Monroe Academy Christmas Tournament as one of four undefeated teams in the AISA poll and came home the only team with an unbeaten mark.

&uot;I told them at the tournament this past weekend that it would be our chance to make a statement,&uot; Stearns said.

The Lions made a strong bid for the top AISA ranking by knocking off No. 1 Sparta Academy in the championship game.

Kingwood advanced to the tournament final by defeating Monroe Academy 53-43. Sparta had beaten No. 2-ranked Escambia Academy to set up the matchup.

The game proved exciting, with neither team holding a lead of more than five points during the contest, which was decided in the final seconds of play.

&uot;It was a tremendous girls basketball game,&uot; Stearns said.

The Lions entered the fourth quarter trailing by three, then outscored Sparta 11-6 in the final period to secure a two-point win.

With the score deadlocked at 50 with 10.8 seconds to go, Phillips drove the length of the court and was fouled with 3.2 remaining on the clock.

She sank both free-throws to secure the 52-50 win.

&uot;It was just a great win for our team and our program on Saturday night,&uot; Stearns said.

Phillips pulled down six rebounds and her 23 points put her over the 1,000 career point mark in just her freshman year. She has been starting for the Lions since the seventh grade.

&uot;Hannah’s our leader,&uot; Stearns said. &uot;Everybody in the state knows that. So far this year she’s averaging 19 points per game.&uot;

Lindsay Gorecki scored nine points and had eight rebounds. Kayla Cates and Lori Hereford each scored seven for Kingwood while Meghan Gorecki scored four and posted seven rebounds.

Phillips, Cates and Lindsay Gorecki were named to the all-tournament team.

Kingwood’s strong perimeter game makes for some exciting basketball, Stearns said.

The Lions hit eight three pointers in the Monroe game.

&uot;We shoot it from outside and if you come out on us we go inside to Cates and Meghan Gorecki,&uot; Stearns said.

Kingwood (10-0) is averaging 54.3 points per game this season while holding their opponents to a 30-points-per-game average.

The Lions will travel to Bessemer this weekend for the Bessemer Academy tournament