Creek’s Kiger Sets School Records in Season Opener
RICHMOND — Indian Creek coach Steve Eft put starting point guard Kylie Kiger back late into Monday night’s season opener at Edison for one reason.
The game already was out of hand. The Redskins eventually won, 84-29. The reason Kiger re-entered with a few minutes remaining was to make history.
The senior was unaware what was going on.
“All I heard from the bench was, ‘Shoot it,'” she said.
Kiger did just that, and it was her 12th 3-pointer of the game, which broke a school record. She also became the first Indian Creek girls basketball player to score 40 points in a game, breaking Bri Berryman’s record of 38.
“It feels really good. I couldn’t have done it without my coaches and teammates,” Kiger said. “I’ve known coach Ron Tweedy since the first grade. I’ve had coach Eft (as head coach) since my sophomore year. He pushes me really hard. The starting five, we’ve played together since the fourth grade and are really comfortable with each other.
“My dad has taken me to the Y ever since I was little. This probably means more to him than me. I’ve been practicing all summer and have been shooting every day. I don’t really shoot that much, but I did this summer.”
Kiger nailed six of her 3s in the opening half and entered the third quarter with 22 points. She also sank a 2-pointer and a pair of free throws in the first half.
“I didn’t realize when I took her out that she was two points away from the school record,” Eft said. “It was nice that we could get her back in so she could get that last basket.
“She was ready to go (Monday). She’s put more time in than probably anybody else on the team. All of these seniors have.”
Kiger was the star in a game that originally was scheduled for next Monday. It was moved up so that both teams could have at least one game played in case COVID-19 shuts them down.
“Mark (Smyth) is a good friend of mine. The way things were looking, we weren’t really sure if we could get a game in,” Eft said. “So, we both agreed to move this game up as soon as possible. I’m really thankful to him for that.
“He comes from a coaching family. His dad and I go way back, so I wish them the best of luck. I know that they’re going to have a good year.”
The contest marked Smyth’s first as a head coach. He knew it would be a tough battle against one of the best squad’s in the area. All he asked for from his team was effort.
“I’ve dreamed about this my entire life,” he said. “My dad was a coach here for 25 years and was very successful. I’ve dreamed about this forever. It’s not obviously the perfect circumstance, but we played a very good team.
“I think our girls played really hard. They tried to do exactly what I told them to do, and I thought they played their butts off. That’s all I can ask for. Our girls showed zero quit.”
Smyth is a former Edison athlete and played under Eft when he was an assistant for eight seasons.
Creek’s Taylor Jones also put forth an impressive effort with 23 points and a game-high 10 rebounds (nine offensive). Hailey Clark produced four points and five assists. Abby Copeland finished with six points, two boards and two dimes.
“It was a good opener. The girls were obviously fired up,” Eft said. “It was a combination of the way the season ended for us last year and not knowing if we’re going to have a season all rolled into one. I was really excited with how we came out with a lot of energy.
“I couldn’t be happier for the kids. They’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. They’re wearing their masks, social distancing and this is their reward.”
The Redskins concluded last season with a heartbreaking three-point defeat in a sectional final.
For the Wildcats, Alysea Fiedorczyk led with seven points. Olivia Huff tallied three points and seven rebounds. Savanna Ankrom had six points and eight boards.
“Coach Eft and I talked and believed our girls worked really hard in the offseason. They deserved the chance to play it,” Smyth said on moving the game up a week.
Midway in the second quarter, Creek’s Makenzie Taylor hit her head on the court after battling for a rebound with Edison’s Emma Scott. Taylor later rejoined the team on the bench but did not play again. She finished with two points and a rebound.
“I’m sure she has a concussion, so we’ll take it day by day,” Eft said. “She took a pretty nasty hit on the head. But, she’s a tough kid and will be back. It’s unfortunate she got hurt in her first game in her senior season.”