Lady Panthers start season, Davenport Era with win
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 9, 2021 4:07 PM

The Ryan Davenport head basketball coaching era began on top Tuesday when his Russellville Lady Panthers won 56-50 at Caverna.

“I’m proud of our team tonight,” said Davenport, who is also athletic director and head softball coach. “We blew a 19-point lead on the road but kept our composure, fought through foul trouble, and played with tremendous effort to get the win. Proud of them all! Great team effort!”

Two of the team’s most experienced players, sophomore Amiyah Collier and senior Chloe Elam, led the way. Collier scored 24 points and Whitescarver 12. Whitescarver also pulled down 7 rebounds. They each made 21 field goal attempts and shot all the free throws RHS attempted, each hitting half of them.

Junior Anastasia Dowlen, who has been one of the leading rebounders in the state the past two seasons, didn’t record her usual numbers. She scored 4 points and had 7 rebounds.

But sophomore Aliyah Kennedy, who played in just nine games last year with a total of 2 points and 7 rebounds, took up the slack. She is the daughter of former standout basketball players Catherine Higgins Kennedy and the late Tyrone “Ice Man” Kennedy.

“I told Amiyah that her dad (Ice Man) would be so proud of her. She has stayed after every practice this year for at least 30 minutes working with coaches. She came in on Christmas Eve Day by herself and worked two hours with three coaches. Last year she didn't play varsity much. Tonight she started in her first varsity game. She had 10 points, 15 rebounds, 3 steals, and 5 deflections. Aliyah stepped it up! She is a prime example of how hard work pays off!

The Lady Panthers led 17-13, 34-26 and 47-32 at the first three stops, but Caverna came back. Collier scored 7 points in the fourth quarter. She was 3 of 7 at the line during the quarter. Whitescarver got the other pair of Panther points in the quarter.

Brinley Mason and Dowlen each hit a 3-pointer for the winners.

Kaliana Richardson led the way for the Lady Colonels with 21 points. She hit 8 of 10 shots in the game. Krista Gamboa hit 7 of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter on the way to 13 points.

Caverna spent a lot of time shooting free throws. The home team was 18 of 26 at the line while Russellville was 6 of 12.

The big number for the Lady Panthers was a 47-25 rebounding advantage. Jaylah Kees had 6 to go along with Kennedy’s 15 and Whitescarver’s and Dowlen’s 7 each.

Score by Quarters: 1) RHS 17-13, 2) 34-36, 3) 47-32, Final) Russellville 56, Caverna 50

RHS (56) Amiyah Collier 24, Chloe Whitescarver 12, Aliyah Kennedy 10, Anastasia Dowlen 4, Brinley Mason 3, Jaylah Kees 3, Kilby Long, Jasmine Patel, Aeireona Yancey, Marcy Hines,

CHS (50) Kaliana Richardson 21, Krista Gamboa 13, Tari Gonzalex 8, Briley Hoskins 4, Kiana Kirk 4

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