The Upson-Lee Lady Knights basketball team began their sub-region play on Friday night, welcoming the Lady Eagles from North Clayton to the newly renovated ULHS gymnasium. Last season the Lady Knights suffered a tough overtime loss to the Lady Eagles.
However, in this contest it would be a fourth quarter which saw North Clayton outscore Upson-Lee 21-11 and erase a 12-point lead Upson-Lee held in the third quarter and collect the sub-region win. North Clayton’s offense was coming from one player for the most part. Kenyatta Harden finished the game with 22 points, and scored 14 of the Lady Eagles’ 18 points in the first half of the game.
Tied 18-18 at halftime, the Lady Knights came out in the third quarter with a full court press defensively. Kiashon Carter and Alexus Holston got the Knights offense going in transistion with the defensive play in the front court. With 5:12 left in the third quarter, the Lady Knights had built a 27-18 lead.
Upson-Lee was also able to a lot of production from their freshman in the paint. The 6’2” Kyjha Kendall towered above defenders for rebounds and easy put backs for the Lady Knights. Kendall finished the contest with 13 points, 18 rebounds, and four blocked shots.
With a 34-27 lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Lady Knights hit a cold streak from the floor offensively. North Clayton on the other hand started to catch fire from the perimeter and quickly erased the Lady Knights lead. Upson-Lee tried to keep up with North Clayton from the free throw line, but Upson-Lee only made 13 of 27 free throws in the game, something that proved to be very costly in their 48-45 defeat.
Kendall and Carter paced the Lady Knights with 13 points each. Laquasha Hutcherson added nine points, Alexus Holston scored six points, Kia Willis notched three points, while Keera McMillion chipped in with one point in the loss.
On Saturday night, Upson-Lee took their annual trip to Barnesville to face the Lady Trojans from Lamar County High School. The Lady Knights took control of the game early in the first quarter with tenacious defense in the front court. Alexus Holston and Kiashona Carter each tallied steals in the first quarter which turned into points for Upson-Lee. At the end of the first quarter, Upson-Lee held a 12-6 lead over the Lady Trojans.
Unfortunately for the Lady Knights they were outscored over the next two quarters 24-10, and fell behind 30-22 entering the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter the Lady Knights began to mount a come back, led by 13 points from Alexus Holston. With just 2:21 left in the game, the Lady Knights had cut the Lamar County lead to 35-34. With the packed out gym on the edge of their seats, the two teams traded blows until the final seconds.
With just 11 seconds left in the game and the Lady Knights and Lady Trojans tied 39-39, Upson-Lee’s Kia Willis came up with a steal on an inbounds pass. Willis’ shot went up off the glass, but Keera McMillon gathered in the rebound and put the ball back in the basket with as the buzzer sounded, giving the Lady Knights a thrilling 41-39 victory.
Alexus Holston paced the Lady Knights with a career high 13 points, with nine of her 13 points coming in the fourth quarter. Kiashona Carter added 10 points, McMillon scored six points, Kyjha Kendall finished with four points, Keondra Ausbrooks also scored four points, and Kia Willis chipped in with two points.
The Lady Knights were to travel to Griffin to take on the Lady Bears on Tuesday, but the game has been canceled due to potential bad weather.