UK Women's Basketball

Old rivals, teammates meet again

Fans will forever remember Chelsia Lymon and Rebecca Gray as the dynamic duo at Scott County when it ranked as one of the top high school teams in the country.

Lymon was the point guard to Gray's shooting guard.

They were a dynamic duo that helped the Cardinals put up gaudy offensive numbers and win several prominent tournament titles.

"They were true competitors with storybook careers at Scott County," Coach Steve Helton recalled.

Gray and Lymon will be back on the court together again on Monday at Middle Tennessee State, but they won't be wearing the same colored jerseys.

Gray's unbeaten Kentucky team will take on Lymon's Middle Tennessee State.

"It's definitely going to be a good game," Gray said. "It'll be intense."

The players don't mind facing off.

They actually have a long history of playing against each other. It's a history that dates to middle school when Lymon played for Georgetown Middle and Gray played for Scott County Middle.

It's just middle school basketball to the rest of the world, but it was a heated, intense rivalry, both players recalled.

"In middle school that was the biggest game of the year," Gray said. "It was always green versus red and the gym would be packed and it would be a really intense game, always a good game.

"Georgetown was always stacked with athletes and Scott County had country girls, always big and corn-fed, but we always played with them."

Lymon said the rivalry continued in high school even though the players were on the same team.

Both Gray and Lymon said playing against each other helped make them the college players they are today.

Lymon is a 5-foot-5 senior point guard averaging 8.7 points, 3.0 steals, 2.9 assists and 2.6 rebounds a game for Middle.

Gray, in her first year at UK after transferring from North Carolina, averages 7.5 points and 2.5 assists per game. The reserve is hitting 40.4 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from the three-point line.

"It was very competitive and fun," Lymon said of the middle school games and beyond. "Whenever you are competitive the way me and Rebecca are, you tend to get better just by playing each other every day."

Helton agreed, noting that each was named the state's Gatorade Player of the Year her senior season.

"Their competitive nature that they brought to practice every day to compete against each other and make each other better was great," Helton said. "To put those skills and those competitive instincts together for Scott County — we were a very good team because they were both so competitive."

In her Cardinals' career, Lymon scored more than 2,300 points to go along with more than 750 assists, 700 rebounds and 400 steals.

Gray, who went on to be named Miss Basketball after her senior season, scored 2,907 career points (tops in school history for boys or girls). She also had 706 rebounds, 380 steals and 493 assists.

Together, the two won more than 100 games and lost fewer than 20 while at Scott County.

"They came along as seventh-graders and definitely left their legacy here," Helton said. "The championships we won, the games we won, the style that we played, the work ethic, the character. Chelsia and Rebecca were front- runners in all of that."

Both players' jerseys have since been retired. Their high school lockers still bear their names.

"Those players still give us that drive to succeed even though they're not here. They are the types of players that these lockers and banners stand for."

Helton said they inspire the current Scott County team and will drive future Cardinals' teams, too.

"It's absolutely an honor to say that they came through these hallways, this locker room, they went through the practices that our current players are going through right now," Helton said. "To see them grow up and live out their dreams in college, it makes you feel proud."

Other connections

Keyla Snowden, another UK reserve, played against both Gray and Lymon in several heated games when she was a standout at Lexington Catholic. ... Snowden also faced Blue Raiders reserve Emily Queen's Rose Hill team for the 2006 Sweet Sixteen championship. Catholic won 69-52 and Snowden was named tournament MVP. ... Queen, Snowden and Gray all played together on the Kentucky All-Star team.