ANDERSON, Mo. — Alyssa Kennedy insists nothing but friendly bragging rights were on the line.
The dishes, the laundry, or even sleeping on the couch were not at stake when Kennedy’s Monett High School girls basketball team met the McDonald County Mustangs on Monday night.
Not this time anyway.
Perhaps a pregame wager or some other type of stipulation may be implemented when these two teams meet again.
Why, you ask?
The Mustangs are coached by Chris Kennedy, who just happens to be Alyssa’s spouse.
Yes, husband and wife matched wits from opposing benches.
In the clash between Kennedy-led squads, Monett used a big second half to knock off McDonald County 62-42 in Big 8 Conference West Division action.
Both Kennedys downplayed the matchup, which was their first meeting as opposing coaches during a regular season clash.
“There was a lot of hype surrounding this one, but we both maintained that it was just another game,” Alyssa Kennedy said. “We don’t have a ton of control of who makes shots on our teams. But it was a fun environment. And I think our kids were excited.”
“It was just another game,” Chris Kennedy said. “Neither one of us gets to shoot it. If we did, I think I’d outscore her. She’s got the bragging rights for now. There was no tension or no bets or anything like that. I put my kids out there and she put her kids out there.”
Chris Kennedy is in his first season at the helm in McDonald County after previously coaching at Wheaton, while Alyssa Kennedy is in her fourth season leading the Cubs.
In the days leading up the game, the couple found themselves scouting their significant other’s players.
“He was pretty tight-lipped about his team and I didn’t say much either,” Alyssa Kennedy said with laugh. “We both wanted this one.”
The two didn’t converse much as their teams warmed up. The couple shared a friendly pregame handshake and then did the same once the final horn sounded.
After a back and forth first half, the Cubs led 29-26 at halftime.
The hosts trailed 40-34 after three periods of play, but the Cubs won the final frame 22-8.
Monett outscored McDonald County 33-16 in the second half.
“I thought we buckled down defensively and we were able to make some shots,” Alyssa Kennedy said. “That makes the game a lot easier. I thought our kids showed al of toughness.”
Junior guard Kaesha George poured in 28 points for the Cubs, drilling four 3-pointers and hitting 14-of-16 free throws. Senior guard Alyssa Williams added 20 points for Monett, draining three treys.
Junior guard Rita Santillan led the Mustangs with 15 points, while sophomore Kristin Penn added 10 and junior Ragan Wilson had nine.
“I thought we played well in the first half,” Chris Kennedy said. “In the second half, we missed some shots and they’ve got some consistent scorers and they did a good job. They hit shots and we kind of lost their shooters in our transition defense. That’s what hurt us.”
The Kennedys will coach against each other again this winter, as the Cubs and Mustangs will meet at the Seneca Tournament. Both teams will also compete at the Class 4 District 12 tournament.
“I should have said he’d have to do all of the laundry or something,” Alyssa Kennedy said of a possible stipulation. “I didn’t do that…but maybe for the next one. I know I’ve got the bragging rights for now. We’re 1-0.”