Kingwood stays unbeaten

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Kingwood Christian’s 25-game winning streak appeared to be near its end last Friday night when the Lions got a much-needed spark from senior forward Lindsay Gorecki.

Just two wins away from a berth in the AISA, 3A girls state-championship game, Kingwood’s perfect record &045; and season &045; hung in the balance as Mobile Christian jumped out to a 14-point lead in the west regional finals.

&uot;We opened up the game ice cold,&uot; said Kingwood coach Jerry Stearns. &uot;Nothing was going right for us.&uot;

Kingwood was able to whittle the lead down to 4 points at the half and had fought to within 2 points by the third quarter, but Mobile Christian bounced back, stretching the lead to 11.

That’s when Lindsay Gorecki ignited the Kingwood offense with two three-point shots at the end of the third quarter and two more at the start of the fourth as the Lions exploded with 26 points in the game’s final period.

&uot;That really sparked us,&uot; Stearns said of Gorecki’s clutch shots.

The usually-stellar Hannah Phillips, Kingwood’s freshman guard and leading scorer, had a subpar night in the free-throw category, making only nine of her first 23 shots from the line.

&uot;She was completely frustrated,&uot; Stearns said.

But Phillips managed to find her rhythm late, connecting on 10 of her last 15 free-throw attempts to help the Lions secure the win. She finished with 32 points and five steals.

Lindsay Gorecki finished with 17 points while twin sister, Meghan, scored five points and had seven rebounds for the Lions.

Kingwood escaped with a 60-52 win, setting up a Final Four pairing with Morgan Academy. The game will be played at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Friday at 2 p.m.

Kingwood won both matchups between the two teams earlier in the season, defeating Morgan Academy by 10 points at home, then defeating them on the road by a margin of 20.

Stearns said he hopes the team’s second trip to Huntingdon will be less of an adjustment for his players who he said were &uot;very nervous&uot; about playing in last Friday’s game.

&uot;I think it’s a sign of a good team when you play bad and still find a way to win,&uot; Stearns said.

Joining the Lions in the AISA Final Four will be the Coosa Valley Academy girls, who defeated Crenshaw 45-39 last Friday.

The Rebels are headed to the Final Four for the second straight year after losing to eventual state champion Sparta Academy in last year’s semifinal.

Coosa Valley (21-6) was down by 12 points to Crenshaw in Friday’s region qualifier before mounting a late comeback to win the game.

&uot;I was going to play a zone defense and conserve some energy,&uot; said Coosa Valley coach Kimbo Rutledge. &uot;But they got the lead and started stalling.&uot;

So Rutledge switched CVA to a man-to-man defense that gave up only 6 points in the fourth quarter.

The Rebel offense responded by scoring 20 points in the final period.

Molly Brasher led Coosa Valley with

20 points and 14 rebounds.

Kirby Johnson had 11 points and five steals for the Rebels while Kimberly Rutledge scored 5 points to go along with eight rebounds, eight steals and four blocked shots.

Coosa Valley was scheduled to play either Lakeside (20-8) or Marion Military Institute sometime today at Huntingdon College in Montgomery.

The defending AISA, 1A boys state champions, Shelby Academy, will not return to the Final Four after losing to Lakeside in the East regional.

The Raiders (13-8) fell to Lakeside 55-50.

Justin Klepin scored 23 points and had 11 rebounds for the Raiders.

Josh Kervin scored 11 points while Vic Baker had 8 points and seven rebounds for Shelby Academy.

The Shelby Academy girls basketball team also ended its season with a loss to Lakeside in the East regional.

The Lady Raiders fell to Lakeside, 46-39, and finished the year with a 13-10 record.

Lindsey Healy led Shelby Academy with 9 points and six rebounds while Kimbrel Lee added 8 points and eight rebounds