The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

March 24, 2013

Two Lady Lions selected for Chicken Express all-star basketball game

Game set for April 20 at Greenville High School


Publicity release

GREENVILLE —   Two Greenville Lady Lions were selected to participate in the First Annual Chicken Express All-Star basketball classic set for April 20 at Greenville High School.

  Tipoff is 6 p.m. for the girls game and the boys game follows at 8.

  Also, two players off the Lions basketball team were selected and they will be announced later this week.

  Senior Lady Lions Elizabeth Rutherford and Mackenzie Cooper will match their talent with 28 other all-stars from Northeast Texas. The Chicken Express All-Star game was founded 24 years ago and is bringing its show to East Texas for the first time. Thirty boys and 30 girls from throughout Northeast Texas will form North and South teams.

  Rutherford, the daughter of Joe and Virginia Rutherford, led the Lady Lions in scoring this past season, averaging 12 points per game. The 5-9 Rutherford scored 303 points on the season and had 109 rebounds, 19 steals and 41 assists. She shot 40 percent from the field and 34 percent from behind the 3-point line.

  “Elizabeth was a threat offensively from the perimeter,” said Lady Lions coach Lesa Darst. “She had nice range in her shot. She runs the floor well and being left handed created chaos for the opponents.”

  Rutherford hit five 3-pointers in three games, plus scored 25 points against district rival Wylie East and had a double-double against Denison with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Rutherford ranks in the top 10 percent of her class and is active in the Student Council, FCCLA, National Honor Society and LOVE Club. Rutherford plans to attend college and major in business.

  Cooper is the daughter of Ron Cooper and Lesa Darst. Cooper was a four-year starter for Greenville, excelling at every position.

  “Her ability to play any position has really elevated her game,” said Darst. “She does a lot of little things that makes a difference and enhances the play of her teammates.”

  Cooper shot 39 percent from the field and 30 percent from behind the 3-point line. Cooper scored 24 points against Forney, including five 3s and pulled down a season-high 16 rebounds against Sherman. Against Wylie East she finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.

  Cooper led the Lady Lions with 177 rebounds, 53 steals and 71 assists. She is active in the Student Council and the Family Fellowship Church. She plans to attend college and continue her education is the studies of science.

  “There will be players from 40-50 towns in Northeast Texas traveling to Greenville for this All-Star Classic,” said Greenville Chicken Express owner Cary McDade. “We expect between 1,500 to 2,000 fans at the two games. We will raise several thousand dollars for scholarships and booster clubs. We are very honored to be able to bring this game to the area.”

  Chicken Express has 15 locations in the Greenville/Northeast Texas area where players participating have been selected. College coaches from throughout the area are expected to attend. The all-star games in other areas have given players an opportunity to show their talent and several have been awarded scholarships.

  Chicken Express will also be awarding several scholarships to the participants. Each area Booster Club will benefit financially from the event. Players from Class A through Class 5A will play. Sports Classic, an event and marketing company, will oversee the Basketball Classic.

  “Our company has so far spent 100 percent with local merchants,” said Teresa Morris, vice president of sales for Sports Classic. “We want to support Greenville and the Greenville ISD. We hope to get support from the community for the classic. We plan to make this an annual event.”