Whitman girls’ basketball Coach Pete Kenah needed something to spruce up this week’s practice in preparation for Kennedy on Friday, which would determine the top seed in next week’s Maryland 4A West playoffs. So he went out and recruited five non-basketball playing male athletes at Whitman, taught them the Cavaliers’ plays, and instructed them to serve as a scout team against his girls all week. Then he rewarded them with Chipotle dinners for their efforts.
Kenah“prepares us in advance, in advance,” senior Maddie Cannon said.
The payoff for a well-conditioned Whitman wasn’t evident until the second half Friday, as freshman Abby Meyers scored 12 of her 19 points in the final 16 minutes and the No. 11 Vikings held the Cavaliers to just two points in the fourth quarter in a crucial 56-40 Montgomery 4A nonleague win in Bethesda.
It was the 18th straight win for the Vikings, who were pushed for the better stages of three quarters by the athletic and quick Cavaliers. Kenah introduced his five seniors to a standing ovation before the game, and he even gave roses to each of Kennedy’s six seniors. Then he watched his freshman, Meyers, turn into the best player on the floor after coming off the bench.
Whitman (19-2) hit eight three-pointers, including three from Meyers and Nicole Fleck (nine points). Meyers’s three-pointer midway through the third quarter pushed Whitman’s lead to 35-31, then she traded another with Kennedy’s Makeda Wright (12 points) to help her team take a 42-38 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Kennedy (16-3), which had allowed a team to score more than 50 points just once this season, ran out of gas against the swarming guards of Whitman in the fourth quarter. The Vikings pestered Wright and star guard Daysha Adams — who entered the night averaging 14.1 points per game and finished with five points — and continued to play small-ball on the offensive end.
“We had a lot of mixed emotions . . . . We all were crying before because it was senior night,” said Cannon, who finished with nine points. “We have a lot of really good shooters.”
Fleck’s three-pointer with just more than three minutes remaining sparked a 12-0 run to end the game, and Meyers gave the crowd an exclamation point with just 20 seconds remaining. After coming up with a steal, she drove to the hoop and beat a defender by going behind her back with the ball, right to left, and finishing. She had been working on it by herself, she said, but no flash was required during a grinding week of practice, against the older boys’ scout team Kenah had recruited.
“I guess it just came to me. I was just like, ‘I guess I will try it,’” Meyers said. “Luckily it went in.”