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Hartselle Enquirer

Former Brewer players get dose of NJCAA tourney

By Russell Moore | Special to the Enquirer

Kendra Jones and Chelsey Smith advanced to the Class 5A championship game in 2009 with Brewer, finishing state runner-up and a little more than two years later are headed to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I championships at Salina, Kansas, with the Wallace State’s women’s basketball program.

Wallace State won the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) Region 22 tournament at Shelton State on March 2, capping off a stretch of four wins in four days for the Lady Lions. The impressive tournament run culminated with the program’s sixth state championship and first since the 2002-03 season.

Chelsey Smith

“Winning the tournament was all about teamwork and confidence. We wanted it. We played like a completely different team than we showed sometimes during the regular season,” Jones said. “We’re so happy we pulled together to win the championship.”

Jones is averaging 5.8 points and 4.2 rebounds this season, but peaked in the ACCC Tournament. The 6-foot forward poured in a season-high 13 points and collected nine rebounds in the championship game vs. Chattahoochee Valley Community College. She averaged 7.3 points and 4.8 rebounds during the four-game tournament stretch.

“Kendra’s an excellent player and had a great championship game and tournament,” said Wallace State coach Larry Slater. “She’s a very physical player and can bring a lot to the table for us. We’re certainly glad to have her.”

Kendra Jones

Smith battled a virus during the tournament, limiting her action in Tuscaloosa, but the 5-foot-11 guard has grown accustomed to the college game, appearing in 24 of the team’s 28 games and scoring a season-high six points against Western Texas on Nov. 12.

“At Brewer, I could just drive into the lane and if I didn’t score I could still make it to free-throw line. I’m relying more on my shooting more in college. It was definitely an adjustment early on. Everyone is as quick as I am,” said Smith, who was an All-State honorable mention selection as a Brewer senior after averaging 17.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 steals.

The former Brewer duo and No. 15 seed Wallace State lost in overtime 88-77 to Vincennes (Ind.)  in  the NJCAA Tournament.

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