TAYLORSVILLE — When Kennedy Redding is in the lineup things generally go well for the Bountiful girls basketball team.
Having sat out the final four games of the regular season due to a collarbone injury, Redding came back to prove her dominant self, leading the Braves to a big 59-33 win over Murray in the first round of the state playoffs on Monday. The 6-foot-4 senior scored a game-high 27 points, including 17 in the second quarter during which Bountiful outscored the Spartans 20-5 to take a commanding 29-13 halftime lead.
Although Redding and her team rolled in the second quarter, and throughout the second half for that matter, things didn't start all that well.
Some nerves contributed to a sluggish first quarter performance which saw the Braves manage a slim 9-8 lead. As for Redding, she scored just one point while finding herself laying on the ground behind the team bench with a bloody nose incurred while trying to rebound a ball in traffic.
Redding, with the help of some trainers, stopped the bleeding, gathered herself and then returned to flat out overwhelm the Spartans from that point on.
She set out scoring all 15 points for her team en route to a 15-2 run at the outset of the second quarter that all but determined the outcome.
“Honestly, I don’t think that’s abnormal for her,” said Bountiful coach Joel Burton of Redding's second-quarter performance. “She’s so dominant on the basketball floor and I expect her to get more and more dominant as the week goes as she gets more and more playing time.”
Redding's dominance continued into the third quarter as the Braves built a huge 47-21 lead entering the fourth.
“I think our whole team just really came together,” Redding said of her team outscoring the Spartans 38-13 in the second and third quarters combined. “I think our defense really picked up and we limited their second shot attempts. Then we really got some good looks and passed it around.”
“There’s a whole bunch of them,” Burton said when asked to point out other key contributors for his team not named Redding. "We could just go down the list and I’m just really proud of the way they responded.”
Granted, Burton wasn't exactly certain how his team would respond on the heels of losing three straight to finish the regular season. Yes, those losses were largely the result of Redding sitting out, but still enough cause for concern.
“My anxiety coming in here today was pretty high knowing how we finished the season,” Burton said. “Even though we had Kennedy back, it can’t just all be about Kennedy.”
With the win, Bountiful advances to the second round and will take on Mountain View on Wednesday.