Rivers in rare company after record milestone to cap career

Kennedy Rivers’ high school basketball career almost lasted only two games. But with some hard work, growth and maturation and friendly encouragement by her coach, Rivers stuck with it and enjoyed a career that included many milestones and memories.
Rivers was a seventh-grader who played on the Philip Simmons High School basketball team during the 2017-18 season. She realized that her potential didn’t conquer the power the older players had.
“I don’t remember much about my seventh-grade season, other than I almost quit after two games,” Kennedy said. “The other team’s players were so big and I was so small. To me, there was no point in playing.”
But Coach Dustin Williams offered encouragement and more importantly, Rivers listened to his words.
Rivers finished the season by playing in 13 games and averaged 6.2 points per game for the Iron Horses, who went 5-10 in their first season. That was the foundation for the rest of her playing time.
Rivers recently wrapped up her prep career by finishing with 1,623 points. She was an all-state selection three times and became the first Iron Horses’ girl selected to play in the 74th North-South All-Star Game, which showed just how much her skills had improved.
Rivers scored 11 points and collected four assists in the all-star game, which was recently contested at Brookland-Cayce High School in the Midlands.
“It truly was an honor,” Kennedy said of her selection to the prestigious event. “In the seventh grade, I didn’t know I would get that far. It was bittersweet because it was my last high school game.”
Kennedy was one of three seventh-graders who were the foundation of the program for six years. The other two were Zhaire Mack and Kylee Kellermann. However, Rivers was the only one of the trio who played all six years. Mack opted out of the COVID-19 pandemic
season, while Kellerman missed half of her junior and senior seasons with a knee injury.
Combined, the trio helped Philip Simmons post an 82-40 record in the six-year stretch. The Iron Horses reached the Lower State Championship one time and played in two Elite Eight showdowns.
Rivers averaged 15.1 points this winter to help the team post a 20-6 record. She was well-rounded with 4.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds a game.
“I thought I had a pretty solid season,” Rivers said. “It went by fast – too fast.”
Rivers also excels in the classroom. She has a 4.59 GPA, which puts her at No. 41 out of 151 students in the Class of 2023.
She plans to play basketball at the next level and is looking at schools in North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina. She is considering majoring in computer science or biology.
“I have a few more visits to make,” Rivers said. “Then I will try to come to a decision. It’s not an easy decision.”

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