With four starters gone from last season’s state championship team, Manual High School girls’ basketball coach Stacy Pendleton expected Destony Curry to become more than a role player during her senior year.
So far, so good.
Curry, a 5-foot-8 guard, posted 21 points and seven rebounds as the Lady Crimsons beat host Assumption 57-49 Friday in a matchup of top-five teams in The Courier-Journal’s preseason poll of coaches.
Curry, who has signed with Bellarmine University, averaged 6.7 points per game last season as one of Manual’s top reserves. On Friday she played 28 of the game’s 32 minutes.
“I’m loving it,” Curry said. “It’s a chance for me to step up and show everything I have. I was overlooked, and a lot of people are underestimating me this year.”
Kayla Styles, a 6-2 Xavier signee, added 17 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals for No. 2 Manual (4-1). She’s now seeing time at point guard as Manual deals with injuries to its starting backcourt.
Sophomore point guard Teanna Curry, Destony’s sister, was lost for the season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament during the preseason. Senior guard Morgan Allen, the team’s top 3-point threat, could be out until January with a broken foot.
“It’s really hard for us, but we’re going to play through it,” Destony Curry said. “Morgan will be back soon … but for now we’re just worrying about who’s here.”
Brandy Hunter was 4 of 10 from 3-point range and scored 21 points to lead No. 5 Assumption (5-2). Nora Kiesler, a 6-6 sophomore, added 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine blocks, but the Rockets couldn’t overcome 29 turnovers against Manual’s sticky defense.
“They wouldn’t let us run our offense and wouldn’t let us get the ball inside,” Rockets coach Steve Small said. “They put a lot of pressure on our guards and showed their athleticism. We didn’t respond the way we’ve been responding. We’re better than that.”
Hunter scored eight points to help Assumption build a 17-11 lead after the first quarter, but the Rockets committed 12 of their turnovers during the second quarter as Manual rallied.
Freshman Jaeda Coffey had a 3-point play and Curry nailed a 3-pointer as Manual closed with a 9-3 run for a 35-28 halftime lead.
“Destony can get a quality shot off or get fouled just about any time, and she’s a great 3-point shooter,” Pendleton said.
Curry, Styles and Erika Hawkins each hit 3-pointers as Manual closed the third quarter with an 11-3 run for a 50-37 lead.
Meanwhile, Assumption’s top two scorers — Kiesler and senior Katie Friedrich (five points, five rebounds) — were limited to a combined 10 shots. The Rockets also missed 5-11 senior Kelsey Kaiser, who was out with the flu.
“We played Manual ball, and we’re not good at Manual ball,” Small said.
Assumption put together a 9-0 run to pull within 55-49 on Molly Steinmetz’s two free throws with 10.2 seconds left, but that’s as close as it would get.
“We were terrible on end-game (situations), but it’s early December,” Pendleton said. “I’m not worried about it.”