Keenum, Greene lead big season for Lady Rattlers
By Brooke Milam
Tanner senior Hollye Keenum scored 1,807 points in her high school basketball career, and sometimes she wondered if she took up too much of the team’s scoring.
Keenum, a 5-foot-6 guard, often would ask her coach, “Am I shooting too much?”
Tanner girls coach Larry Greene said that was a common question from Keenum, whom he names as one of the most unselfish players he has coached.
“She’d ask me that question, but the thing is, she’s our best shot,” Greene said. “We wanted her to take more shots. Everyone looked to her. All her teammates look to her when crunch time comes. She sets the example.”
This season, Keenum averaged 21.2 points a game and helped Tanner win the Class 2A, Area 15 championship, take the Northwest Regional title and finish 24-10 in a season that didn’t end until a 49-45 loss to Reeltown in the state semifinals.
For her efforts, Keenum is named The Daily’s Class 1A-3A girls player of the year. For Greene’s efforts in guiding his team to such a quality finish after a 7-7 start, he is The Daily’s Class 1A-3A girls coach of the year.
“We knew going into the season that people doubted us some,” said Keenum, who is undecided about her college plans.
“We always say, ‘One more year. We’ll get there next year.’ But for most of us, this was our last chance, and we came together at the right time.”
Keenum made 45.6 percent of her shots from the field and 74.9 percent from the free throw line. Keenum earned most valuable player honors at the Northwest Regional, despite facing double-teams and being the center of opposing defenses’ attention in postseason.
Keenum scored in double figures in 32 of 34 games with a high of 34 points against Choctawhatchee, Fla., in a early-season tournament. She also scored 33 points against Elkmont in the regular season. She posted 31 in the sub-regionals against Cleveland, in the Northwest Regional semifinals against Mars Hill and in the regular season against Hatton.
“She played as hard as she could from start to finish without letting up,” Greene said. “To me, her presence on the court enabled her teammates to be better players, too.”
Out of 1,104 minutes of playing time this season, Keenum was on the floor for Tanner all but 41.
“I always try to leave everything on the court,” Keenum said. “But as we got to area tournament and regionals, you never knew when your last game was going to be, so that made it that much more important to play hard.”
Tanner had to regroup after Christmas when the record was 7-7. Greene said that rather than be discouraged, his team played that much better. He said he brought his team together to address their problems.
“We looked at our record after the River City Classic and we talked about what we wanted to accomplish,” Greene said. “The girls made the decision that they wanted to try and run the table. They wanted to try to win the rest of them and thought that was a realistic possibility.”
The Lady Rattlers came close, winning 17 of their last 20 games to finish the season.
Greene said despite his team “not playing our best game” in the state semifinals, he and his players had no regrets to the season.
“We knew when this group was seventh-graders that they had the ability to get to the Final Four, but they had to fight hard to get there,” Greene said. “They were determined to get to Birmingham, and I’m proud of them. I’m proud to have been a part of that.”
Class 1A-3A girls all-area team
Hollye Keenum, Tanner
Kylie Black, Speake
Amber Jones, Hazlewood
Jessy Willingham, Addison
Kirsten McClure, Athens Bible
Jasmine Patton, Hazlewood
Candace Lee, Decatur Heritage
LaCresha Petty, Clements
Laura Rutherford, Mount Hope
Natalie Harrison, West Limestone
Chasitey Garner, Hazlewood
Bernisha Harris, R.A. Hubbard
Player of year:Hollye Keenum, Tanner
Coach of year:Larry Greene, Tanner
Class 1A-3A girls honorable mention
Addison: Kayla Carden, Haley Wiggins and Britney Taylor.
Athens Bible: Lindsey McClure and Christina Ivey.
Danville: Kristen Sparkman, Alaina Fitzgerald and Bethany Evans.
Decatur Heritage: LouEllen Thompson and Brittany Denson.
Elkmont: Jamie Lack.
Falkville: Aleisa Smith and Katie Annerton.
Hatton: Grace Harrison, Kaitlyn Fleming, Emily Shelton, Paige Rutherford and Erin Shelton.
Hazlewood: Naughtia Langham, Josalin Johnson, Antoinetta Howlet, Lachare Reedus and Ciara Gilchrist.
Mount Hope: Tamara Robinson and Anna Roberson.
R.A. Hubbard: Chasity Puryear and Whitney Ashford.
Speake: Malea Hensley.
Tanner: Mikala Malone, Jessica Urias and Christen Stephens.
West Limestone: Elizabeth Dison, Savanna Smith and Morgan Adams.
West Morgan: Heather Kent.
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