It was almost comical how business like KK Barbour handled the event. With the senior just a basket shy from setting the Albemarle school record for career points, it was inevitable that she would reach the mark. That she did so in just seven seconds after she won the game opening jump ball made things easier to focus on what truly mattered to her and her team — making sure they didn’t lose sight of the fact they were on the road against an upstart Orange County team.
“It was really nice to get it over with,” Barbour said. “I just wanted to get our team focused on getting the win instead of me getting a scoring record.”
While the Patriots saved the big celebration for the personal accomplishment after the game, Barbour simply put the team on her back against the Hornets who gave them a fight from start to finish. Thanks to a career best 39 points from the Liberty-bound senior, Albemarle was able to hold on for a 50-47 win.
“You always know with Orange you’re going to get a good game, a good fight,” said Albemarle assistant coach Tammy Winterton. “We are young and maybe not so much age wise but in experience. We’re hitting trying to deal with the peaks and valleys of that, avoiding the valleys. We got down a bit, but we were able to overcome that. We were intense the whole night and I thought that was a big step for us, keeping that through four quarters.”
While the Patriots started off with a 5-0 run in the first quarter, the Hornets answered with eight unanswered of their own. From there until the end of the first half, the lead changed hands often with Orange finishing the second quarter up 26-23 thanks to the turnovers it forced from its press.
“It took until the end of the first quarter until we looked ready to play,” said Orange coach Dave Rabe. “We had our heads in the game after that. We really wanted this game bad. It took us a bit to get going but eventually we got some steals and pushed the ball up court to be able to play our game. But we just didn’t quite have enough of that.”
In the third, the Patriots reclaimed the lead with a 7-1 run. Orange responded by slowing but surely tying the game up at 37-37 to set up the fourth quarter.
Albemarle, all behind Barbour offensively with her perimeter ability, inside game and free throw shooting took a 48-42 lead with less than two minutes to play. However, Rebecca Harvey was able to make it a 2-point game with 8.9 seconds left. That was as close as the Hornets could get though.
“We struggling a bit (at the line) in the beginning but I think we’re getting pretty clutch at hitting them at the end,” Barbour said. “In practice we have to run if we miss them, so that plays a part.”
While Barbour led all scorers with her 39 points and seven rebounds and was the only Patriot with more than one field goal. Barbour went 13 for 16 from the free throw line and also knocked down four 3-pointers. Kendra Hairston had four steals, six assists and six rebounds.
For Orange, three different players finished in double figures. Markiana Smith led the way with 14 points. Harvey finished with 12. Laine Harrington chipped in 10.