It is no secret that Scott County High School girls' basketball opponents have to navigate a Bermuda Triangle this winter in order to have a fighting chance against the Lady Cardinals.
Kenady Tompkins admittedly is the arm that lurks just below the water. Given the dazzling skills of Morgan DeFoor and unique talents of Malea Williams, each a year older, it's strangely possible for her strong, six-foot frame to blend into the geographical landscape.
Well, if Tates Creek was expecting that Friday night, the Lady Commodores ran into a storm of epic proportions. Tompkins erupted for a career-high 28 points and 16 rebounds in a 90-56 SC victory.
“For real? I've never had that much,” Tompkins said when informed about the numbers. “I just feel like I really need to step up. Malea and Morgan, they're seniors, and people look up to them. I'm a junior, and I've got another year, but I might as well have them look up to me now.
“I kind of look up to Malea and Morgan, too. They're like family to me. I try to do what they do, work on my passes like Morgan and my shots like Le.”
Together, the trio out-scored Tates Creek's starting five and bench by a comfortable margin.
DeFoor delivered 30 points for the second consecutive game, including 8 of 14 from 3-point range, to o with seven assists and three steals. Williams scored 12 of her 16 points in the third quarter and racked up 15 rebounds on the night.
Scott County (6-3 overall, 5-0 11th Region) swept three home games in four nights, all with a running clock at the finish, to chase off the memories of a tumultuous week and a three-game losing streak witg authority.
“We've got to build on it,” SC coach Steve Helton said. “I don't want us to relax, which is very easy to do when you win big like this.”
Maddie Kauffman scored 20 points and Caty Armishaw 18 to lead Tates Creek, which hadn't faced Scott County since four consecutive one-sided losses from 2013 to '16.
Tates Creek (4-4) scored five of the first six points before DeFoor's drive after a steal and 3-pointer courtesy of an offensive rebound, both off assists from Emma Price, put SC in front.
Two deep 3-pointers by DeFoor capped a 15-5 run that made it 25-15 after eight minutes.
“I don't know if she could miss for a while. She went into her own zone,” Helton said of DeFoor. “I told her in a joking way, 'I guess they missed the scouting report on you,' because she was in my opinion a little bit too open.”
DeFoor averaged 25.7 points and 7.7 assists to headline SC's second perfect week in December.
The Lady Cards allowed only three field goals in the second quarter while Tompkins and Williams conducted a clinic in the half court offense, staking SC to a 45-25 advantage.
“We're actually doing pretty good,” Williams said, “I think we're slowly starting to play as a team.”
Defense was an elusive concept in a third period that saw the teams combine for 58 points.
In addition to three additional 3-pointers from DeFoor, Scott County repeatedly Williams on the breakaway. The 6-foot-4 major college prospect has proven herself capable of grabbing the rim and perhaps dunking in such situations, but she said a recent bout with a respiratory infection got the best of her.
“I barely tipped the backboard,” Williams said with a smile. “I feel a little better, but I still have no air. I'm just pushing through.”
Scouts from Kentucky, Florida and Western Kentucky visited games this past week to keep tabs on Williams.
They also got an eyeful of Scott County's other two stars during what looked more like a playground game in the second half against Tates Creek.
“We already felt like we were up and slowed down a little bit, but then I felt like we got that intensity back up,” Tompkins said. “After we realized they can come back and shoot, we worked more as a team.”
“It was a lot of energy from both teams,” Williams said. “I actually like going back and forth like that where they get it and then we get it.”
Helton acknowledged that if he didn't know better, he might think his team was trying to keep the lead under 35 points to stave off the running clock and give itself a chance to eclipsing the 100-point mark for the first time this season.
“The scouting report on them was if they're set, they're more effective. I think we got caught up more into 'we score, you score,' so we'd get the ball back quicker,” Helton said. “And I do think we wanted 100. Good win against a regional opponent who, they're improved. (Kauffman) is a heck of a player, and then (Armishaw) shot the ball a little bit better than we had planned.”
Kennon Owens was the fourth Lady Cardinal in double digits with 10 points. Emma Price chipped in a 3-pointer during SC's third-quarter flourish.
SC's size advantage produced a 57-34 advantage on the glass.
“Considering that's the first time we've seen 1-3-1 (zone) this year, for us to handle it (was impressive). We were snatching rebounds. We were going after rebounds,” Helton said.
“There were moments our interior (dominated), and we still missed a bunch of gimmes. Not even just low post, but high post, from 15 feet in, I thought we moved the ball pretty well.”
The Lady Cards are certain to face tougher resistance and comparable athleticism when they travel to Rock Hill, South Carolina, for the Blue Star Invitational tournament Dec. 27-30.
It's the start of a stretch that features seven away games in the next eight and will test Scott County's growing chemistry.
“Whatever they got coming for us, I'm ready,” Tompkins said. “I love spending time with the team.”
Kal Oakes can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.