By Chris Yow
SANTA FE — Recently in Middle Tennessee, the number 2,000 seems to be popular. Five days after Derrick Henry eclipsed that mark in rushing yards for a season, Richland guard Jesse Jennings followed suit. In a 65-28 District 10-A win at Santa Fe on Friday night, the senior notched her 2,000th career point with a 3-pointer in the second quarter.
“I didn’t even know that was it,” she said following the win. “I knew I was close, but I don’t really pay attention to how many points I score during the game.”
She finished with a game-high 18 points in the win.
Richland coach Chad Hall praised his team’s leader, speaking of her unselfishness despite being the team’s scoring leader.
“She’s probably got close to 500 or 600 assists in her career,” he said. “We are a team, and Jesse embraces that even though she is so good at scoring the ball.”
On Friday, it was both offense and defense that set the tone early. Richland led 25-1 at the end of the first quarter and 40-8 at the half. Santa Fe struggled to find any rhythm on offense against the Lady Raiders’ pressure, which turned into transition buckets often.
Though his team didn’t need it, Hall said Jennings can take over a game when necessary. She’s smart enough, he said, to know when she has to without him telling her.
“I know she has that extra step, but I don’t lean on it too much,” he said. “She knows when we need her to step up and make a play.
“Somebody is missing out on this kid. If she had an extra couple of inches in height, we’d see her on TV next year, but she’s still waiting on a call.”
Coming off a disappointing loss to Huntingdon in last year’s sectional, Jennings said getting to 2,000 points wasn’t even a goal.
“I’m just trying to get to the state championship,” she said.
Richland boys stay unbeaten: Richland’s boys continued their hot start on Friday with a 57-40 win at Santa Fe to open District 10-A play. The Raiders (9-0, 1-0 10-A) held a slim 26-21 lead at the half, but pulled away with a 17-6 advantage in the third quarter.
Santa Fe (2-5, 1-1 10-A) guard Andy Slaughter was held to a season-low 12 points, and zero makes from beyond the arc in the game thanks to a high-pressure defense from Richland. The Wildcats were led by Josh Martin, who had 13 points, including three 3-point buckets.
For Richland, Daniel Nicholson had 17 points, and Logan Helton added 13.
In the game, the Raiders shot 10-of-18 from the free throw line, while Santa Fe was 1-of-3 from the stripe.
Richland boys 57, Santa Fe 40
R – 17 9 17 14 57
SF 12 9 6 13 40
Richland (57) – Tyrell Randolph 6, Logan Helton 13, Daniel Nicholson 17, Trey Luna 9, Stevie Ballinger 7, Jackson Alsup 4, Kolton Hood 1
Santa Fe – Colton Steward 5, Josh Martin 13, Andy Slaughter 12, Landon Evans 1, Auden Slaughter 2, Tanner Bryan 4, Mason Adkison 3
3-pointers: Richland 5 (Luna 3, Helton 2), Santa Fe 5 (Martin 3, Steward, Adkison)
Richland girls 65, Santa Fe 28
R 25 15 17 8 65
SF 1 7 17 3 28
Richland (65) – Gracie Braden 10, Katie Garner 7, Jesse Jennings 18, Kristen Garner 3, Allie Garner 3, Kaitlyn Bass 3, Halle Braden 3, Shelby Higgins 13, Ava Shrader 5
Santa Fe (28) – Gracie 6, Elise Adkison 4, Emmy Bates 6, Aniston Slaughter 6, Hattie Hedrick 3, Jade Arnold 3
3-pointers – Richland 9 (Higgins 3, Ka. Garner, Jennings, Kr. Garner, Bass, Braden, Shrader), Santa Fe 5 (Bates 2, Mills, Slaughter, Arnold)
Photos by Chris Yow / SM-Tn Sports