GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — With a bag of ice around her knee and an expression of relief on her face, Theryn Hallock could finally smile when she went to hug a friend on the opposing team.
Waiting to greet her was Abbey Kimball, a fellow future Michigan State Spartan with Hallock. Both verbally committed to play for Suzy Merchant well before last season, Hallock coming first in 2019 with Kimball following in 2020.
Today, they played each other in the Cornerstone Basketball Holiday Classic, where Kimball and the West Catholic Falcons (4-0) bested Hallock and Forest Hills Central (3-1) 64-32.
Hallock finished with 13 points, despite leaving in the fourth quarter with a leg injury — one she clarified was “all good” — while Kimball totaled 11.
After a smile and hug as they approached midcourt before the game, the future roommates both could come to agree on one thing even as competitors: neither would pick the other to guard if they had the choice.
“(Kimball) is there star player and West Catholic is a good team, I don’t want to take anything from them,” Hallock said. “I hate guarding her, we’ve been playing with each other since fifth and sixth grade, it was tough coming in but overall I think we did well defending each other.”
This was, however, the first time the two had competed against each other since grade school.
Their relationship really began to blossom when Hallock and Kimball played together in the Michigan Basketball Academy.
Both players described MBA as a family environment and the connection between the two guards was almost instant.
“Through the tournaments, hotels and all the time together we built a bond that couldn’t be broken,” Kimball said. “That’s what made today difficult on the court, we know each other’s tendencies and she’s a great player and I followed her to MSU, so it’s been nice to build this bond before heading to college.”
Kimball and Hallock both feel their most similar trait is their mindset and determination to get better every day.
What they have built at each high school didn’t just happen overnight.
Last season, Kimball became a 1,000 point scorer at West Catholic. She’s an outstanding leader on the floor with the ability to score from any spot on the offensive end. Since she was a sophomore in the 2019-2020 season, the Falcons have lost two games.
They’ve won 43 games.
She’s been a main contributor to changing the culture of West Catholic girls basketball.
Yet, with some COVID-19 issues in both seasons, the Falcons have been held out of the state title game.
After being held out last year due to contact tracing to the virus, Kimball watched her team fall in the postseason to Newaygo, who went on to play in the state championship game. It is still sitting with her and winning a state title is just as important now as ever in her final go around.
“Right after the loss it was really tough on me and my teammates,” Kimball said. “It’s been right back to work ever since, we wanted to pick up where we left off and I think we have.”
It’s a similar story for Hallock.
As a freshman, she averaged 13, 3.7 steals, 1.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds. It was enough to get the call from Merchant that following fall. Her father, Ty Hallock, played football for the Spartans, as did her brothers Tanner and Tate.
Hallock’s court awareness and speed are both noticeable the minute she steps onto the floor. Games like Tuesday’s push her to become even better in those and other areas of her game.
“Abbey and I were playing on different teams and being friends, we push each other to be better,” Hallock said. “I think today we definitely did that.”
During timeouts or stoppages on the floor, Hallock and Kimball would exchange comments and laughs about things and get right back into playing.
There was no bickering, according to Hallock, it was strictly business for the two friends and future teammates.
“We made comments here or there, maybe a laugh or two but we were focused on the game,” Hallock said. “She’s a great person and better player, I can’t wait to share the court with her.”
The next time they do, it won’t be as foes, but as friends.