By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
If anyone wonders why Wenonah is the fourth-ranked team in Class 5A, all they have to do is see Kaitlyn Rodgers in action.
The 6-foot-2 freshman moved around the Hayden defense with ease, scoring basket after basket as the Dragons scorched the Wildcats 61-31 in Thursday’s Class 5A girls basketball sub-regional playoff.
Rodgers scored 17 points in the first half — outscoring Hayden’s entire team by eight points — and finished with 25, plus 11 rebounds and five steals. She spent much of the second half on the bench.
Rodgers wasn’t the only big girl to give Wildcat coach John Simmons a headache, but she was by far the most dominant. The Dragons roster has three players six feet or taller, and all took their toll on Hayden.
On the defensive end, Wenonah’s pressure on the perimeter kept Cats center Katie Parr form getting the ball, and prevented guards Grayson Taylor and Evin Bibb from hitting from outside the 3-point arc. Parr only scored four points and Taylor just eight, finally hitting her first trey just after the start of the second half.
The smothering Dragon defense held Hayden scoreless in the second quarter, something rarely done to a Simmons-coached team — Hewitt-Trussville held the Ctas scoreless in the first quarter back in January, only to see Hayden come alive in the second to take a big halftime lead.
Parr had 11 rebounds on the night, and Bibb pulled down nine. She also had three steals. Brooke Meadows came off the bench to lead all Wildcat scorers with 10 points.
Jakema Holmes also scored 12 points for the Dragons.
Hayden finishes the season with a 25-6 record. Wenonah moves on to play Lawrence County in the first round of the Northwest Regional at Wallace State-Hanceville next Tuesday morning.