Lela Sellers stars as C.R. Kennedy rallies past City High

Lela Sellers stars as C.R. Kennedy rallies past City High

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Lela Sellers stars as C.R. Kennedy rallies past City High

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High School Insider

High School Insider

A year ago it was Courtney Joens and her career-high 42 points that stole the show when City High and Cedar Rapids Kennedy matched up.

On Friday it was Lela Sellers that took a turn in the spotlight as Kennedy got its revenge.

Sellers scored 30 points and grabbed nine rebounds as Class 5A No. 12 Kennedy (2-1) rallied for a 65-61 win over fifth-ranked City High (2-1) in a Mississippi Valley Conference showdown at City High.

“I thought she was the best player on the floor tonight,” Cedar Rapids Kennedy coach Tony Vis said. “Obviously with the Joens sisters they kind of split each other’s points. Lela was really good tonight.”

Sellers scored 11 of her game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter as Kennedy rallied from a 44-41 deficit entering the frame.

The 6-foot senior scored five straight points during a 7-0 fourth-quarter run by the Cougars that gave them a 56-51 lead they would never relinquish.

“That was awesome,” Sellers said. “It was an intense game and sometimes in those games you get a little nervous, but these are the games you live for right?”

City High got 25 points and 10 rebounds from sophomore Ashley Joens, 16 points from Kenya Earl and 14 more from Courtney Joens, but it didn’t have an answer for Sellers.

Sellers finished 13-of-20 from the field, making 11 of her final 15 shots.

“The Sellers girl had a tremendous game, we had no answer for her,” City High coach Bill McTaggart said. “She is matchup problem for us and a matchup problem for a lot of teams.”

City High led by as many as seven on two separate occasions in the first half, but each time Kennedy answered back.

The Little Hawks took a 28-21 lead on a Courtney Joens bucked with 5:09 left in the second quarter, but Kennedy ended the half on a 11-4 run to tie the game at 32 at intermission.

“We haven’t been within 20 of them the three previous years,” Vis said. “We’ve gotten rocked by them every year. When we were tied at halftime I said ‘this is as close as we’ve ever been let’s fight for 16 minutes.’ “

City High appeared to take control of the game with a 12-0 run midway through the third quarter.

Earl had seven points, including a free throw following a technical foul on Vis, in the 12-0 spurt that spanned more than four minutes of play and was capped by a Courtney Joens layup.

Olivia Hellweg stopped the run with a 3-pointer and Sellers scored twice in the final 2:25 to pull Kennedy within 44-41 at the end of three quarters.

“In the third quarter some dummy got a technical and we were kind of teetering a little bit,” Vis said. “Then we banked that 3 in and we believed we had life again.”

City High took a 51-49 lead on a pair of Ashley Joens free throws with 5:33 left, but the rest of the game was all Kennedy.

Sellers tied the game with a driving layup that started a 7-0 Kennedy run that gave the Cougars a 56-51 lead with 3:43 left.

City High had 11 of its 20 turnovers in the fourth quarter, which helped ignite the Kennedy run.

“We panicked and didn’t take care of the basketball,” McTaggart said. “We had way too many turnovers tonight.”

Ashley Joens gave City High a shot late.

The sophomore scored the Little Hawks’ final eight points, including a three-point play with 1:29 left to cut the lead to 58-57.

However, Kennedy hit six straight free throws in the final 44 seconds to secure the win.

City High, which opened the season with wins over West Des Moines Dowling Catholic and Dubuque Senior, will return to action Saturday against Muscatine.

“We need to come back strong tomorrow,” Ashley Joens said. “We can’t hang our heads.”

Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or rmurken@press-citizen.com and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.

City High                                22  10  12  17  –  61

Cedar Rapids Kennedy          17  15  9  24  –  65

City High (61) – Sydney Schroder 1-3 2-2 4, Ashley Joens 8-17 8-13 25, Bryn Hanrahan 1-3 0-0 2, Vaba Gamamou 0-1 0-0 0, Courtney Joens 6-13 0-2 14, Kenya Earl 5-9 6-8 16, Team 21-46 16-25 61.

Cedar Rapids Kennedy (65) – Carly Langhurst 1-5 2-3 4, Ashley Hamilton 0-2 0-0 0, Sydney Hayden 2-7 6-8 12, Lela Sellers 13-20 3-5 30, Olivia Hellweg 1-3 1-2 4, Hailey Dolphin 2-5 9-12 13, Linden Runels 1-3 0-0 2, Team 20-45 21-30 65.

3-point field goals – CRK 4-16 (Langhurst 0-1, Hamilton 0-2, Hayden 2-7, Sellers 1-2, Hellweg 1-2, Dolphin 0-1, Runels 0-1); ICH 3-12 (Schroder 0-1, A. Joens 1-2, Hanrahan 0-2, C. Joens 2-7). Rebounds – CRK 27 (Sellers 9), ICH 29 (A. Joens 10). Turnovers – CRK 15, ICH 20. Total fouls – CRK 18, ICH 23. Fouled out – ICH, Courtney Joens, Gamamou; CRK, Runels. Technical fouls – Cedar Rapids Kennedy bench.

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