Though lacking style points, Lady Warriors outlast improved KCHS girls

KNOXVILLE — Head coach Abby Williams wasn’t particularly pleased Saturday night, Feb. 1.

She saw her Christian Academy of Knoxville girls basketball team nab a road victory against Cedar Bluff Area rival Knoxville Catholic, but she knew the win didn’t earn many style points.

“You take the win and you move on,” Williams said after the Lady Warriors outlasted the Lady Irish 49-37 at KCHS. “We struggled offensively, but they’re a physical team and we have physical teams in our district.

“So this game will definitely get us ready for our district tournament,” she added. “Catholic is a good team and this is a big win for us. It’s a big win because it’s a road game and it’s a rivalry game. We played well defensively. They scored some baskets late, but anytime you hold a team to 37 points you’ve played pretty good defense.”

The game was hotly contested out of the gate, as the Lady Irish (11-12 entering the week) hung tough despite not having freshman point guard Jazmin Williams, who was injured earlier in the week against Greeneville.

“This was their first game without her, and without her they’re a different team,” said Williams, CAK’s second-year head coach. “But they’re good and they’re going to be good for years to come.”

The Lady Warriors (12-10 entering the week) got their offensive sparks from senior forward Hannah Carroll and freshman point guard Emily Wilson.

Carroll, who scored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, was particularly dominant in the third quarter.

She scored the first seven points after halftime and had assists on the Lady Warriors’ next field goal in the third frame, a three-pointer by freshman Keira Leffew, who finished the contest with seven points.

Wilson had 14 points.

Like her coach, Carroll said the victory was big for CAK.

“This was a win that we needed,” Carroll said. “It’s a road win. It’s a rivalry game against a physical team but it wasn’t our best game.”

For KCHS, Jaya Jenkins and Kate Pettinger scored 10 points apiece.

Lady Irish coach Freeman Pinkney was pleased that his squad was able to hang around in the game.

“Our kids didn’t quit and the one thing that we talk about is playing hard and not giving up, no matter what the score is,” Pinkney said. “I’m not upset with the way we played.

“We have 11 wins and his is the first time since 2013 that Catholic has had 11 wins. We’re getting better and we’re competing. And I think that’s what my administration wants to see.”