When the opportunity came, Kendrick Smith didn't flinch.
He hit key shots boosting Austin High to a 68-63 win over Bob Jones on Friday.
Smith scored 12 points for the Black Bears in the win, coming off the bench in the second half to pick up points and a couple of dunks.
"We just worked hard, and we executed everything like coach told us to," Smith said. "My teammates just gave me the ball."
Smith's minutes are usually shy, only two or three minutes per game, but with Josh Pearson out sick, Smith was able to step in and fill the void. To Coach Demond Garth, Smith's 23 quality minutes showed Austin's depth, demonstrating a team ready for next week's area tournament.
"That's what good teams do," Garth said.
The Black Bears (16-7) established themselves early, as Troy Harris shot a 3-pointer to help Austin open with an 8-0 run. Another 10-point run led the second quarter, leaving Bob Jones (5-17) trailing 27-16 at half.
After halftime, Austin led by as many as 18 points before the Patriots found the way to the net. Hot shooting in the fourth quarter put the Patriots within five points of Austin before the final buzzer. They outscored the Black Bears 37-28 but it wasn't enough.
"There was nothing to change," Bob Jones Graham Aderholt said. "We didn't make a shot in the first half. We have just got to make shots, and when you make shots, sometimes that gets the momentum going in your direction."
Everette Mayes and Malique Elliott each scored 16 points for Austin, while Patriots' Jamarcus Jones led all scorers with 23 points, including going 10-for-10 from the free- throw line.
"Sometimes a team gets hot, and that's what they did," Garth said. "Down the stretch, we found a way to gut it out."
Tanner Finley added 14 points for Bob Jones, while Dalton Barkley scored 12. The Patriots also beat Austin in the rebound category 35-29.
Bob Jones girls 64, Austin 56: Both teams kept an even pace in the first half, evening the score at 29 at the break. After the Patriots moved ahead, led by Chandler Elder, who scored 17 points in the game.
Despite the loss, Austin coach Bruce Hamilton was pleased with the way his team came out.
"Last time they played us, they exploited us. We showed a lot of youthfulness." Hamilton said of the former meeting between Austin and Bob Jones. "I don't think that showed as much tonight."
Takisha Jordan led all scorers with 24 points, while Katie Speegle added a double-double for Austin (19-7), with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
For Bob Jones (26-4), Nadia Stewart scored 12 points, while Sydney Booker added 10.
"We just came up a little short. I thought we had a pretty good effort. We just have to execute a little better against teams like that," Hamilton said.
Meredith Qualls can be reached at 256-340-2395 or email@example.com.
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