FLORETTE — No. 1-ranked Brewer High's girls rolled over rival Hartselle like a machine 65-22 at home Friday night. But even with all those points, a player who didn't score in the first half turned the keys and got the engine started.
Brewer junior Cheyenne "Nye" McLemore kept a rebound alive, which teammate Malerie Drinkard took out of the air and turned into a three-point play. Brewer then got the ball back when McLemore tied up the Hartselle ballhandler. Back on the offensive end, McLemore set a screen, helping open up teammate Savana Flack for a 3-pointer.
Just like that, Brewer led 6-0. The 5-foot-6 McLemore simply went back to sprinting around the court, generally making life miserable for Hartselle.
"Sometimes it's hard for players to understand the amount of points you score doesn't mean you've had a good game or not," Brewer coach Ricky Allen said. "Cheyenne does all the little things. All of them. Sure, if she scored 15 points a game that would be great. But she helps in so many other ways."
McLemore, a guard, finished with five points, but to her teammates, this game showed again why she has proven so valuable to Brewer the past three years. In fact, during last season's run to the state championship, she played more minutes in the final two months of the season than leading scorer Riley Northway, a first-team all-state post player.
Now McLemore is starting, and she rarely gets a break. Against Hartselle, she was the last starter to come off the floor, as Allen trusted her to help the second team direct its offense and defense. He might've left her in longer, but she fouled out.
"She's always in the right position, and when she isn't, she makes it work for her," Flack said. "Riley and I always fight over wanting to play defense on the same side of the floor as Nye, because it's so easy to play with her."
Northway and Flack said it's like McLemore's head is on a swivel, as she keeps a careful eye on the ball and whatever else that requires her attention.
"My dad used to tell me, ‘Nye, watch the ball. Anticipate. Keep your hands ready,' " McLemore said. "So, that's what I always try to do."
Northway finished with 20 points for Brewer, including 18 in the second quarter. Rheagan Harvel managed 10 points, and Drinkard pitched in nine. The reserved played the game's final 11 minutes.
For Hartselle (4-3), Kaylee Shelton and Riley Terry each had six points.
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