Houlka’s Candiace McIntosh is a 17-year-old, 6-foot-1 sophomore to whom the spotlight has shifted since Ashley Benford, an ICC signee, graduated last year. McIntosh is still adjusting to her new role – witness her 2-point output against Coldwater in the North final – but she basked in that spotlight Wednesday, scoring 25 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in a 58-53 win over McAdams in the Class 1A quarterfinals.
“She has a lot of growing up to do,” Houlka coach Jimmy Guy McDonald said, “but I’m proud of where she is right now.”
McIntosh is a beefy 6-1, and she was a steadying presence for a Houlka team that committed 36 turnovers. McAdams had no one who could consistently deny her the ball, and McIntosh was 12-for-19 from the field, mostly on the strength of point-blank buckets.
She wasn’t so poised after the game. With a TV camera in her face and a couple of digital recorders under her nose, McIntosh kept twisting up her pants leg with her fingers and had the look of someone being grilled by the mafia. Her answers were brief and often vague.
But, as her game improves and the spotlight grows larger, McIntosh will become more comfortable in its glow. Her next challenge comes Tuesday, when Houlka faces defending state champ East Oktibbeha, which is led by McDonald’s All-American April Sykes. And the spotlight grows brighter.