Warren JFK cruises past United Local


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Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes
Kennedy senior Ava Darney eyes the basket before shooting and scoring one of her six made threes. Her game-high 22 points led the Eagles past United 85-49.



HANOVERTON — When the defensive pressure is effective and steals turn into buckets, the opportunity to score in batches presents itself, especially when the three-pointers start to fall. That was the case for Warren John F. Kennedy, which earned an 85-49 victory Wednesday afternoon at United.

According to MaxPreps records, the output was the most for the Eagles since an 82-40 win at Chalker on Jan. 3, 2011. Their scoring barrage also topped their 79-point performance at Mathews on opening day earlier this season.

Beating a veteran-heavy Golden Eagles team on the road meant plenty to a younger Kennedy (8-2) squad that lost to Canton Central Catholic prior to Christmas break.

“Our game plan is to always force tempo. Whether we give up some easy ones early, we just want to create that pace. … Let’s see who can outscore each other. I want that environment for us because I think in the long run we’ll make more shots than the other team,” Kennedy coach Marc Morgan said. “Some games, it doesn’t always work out for us, but today was one of those days. I thought we shot it decent. I didn’t think we shot it great, so imagine if we can keep it going.”

Senior Ava Darney led the charge with 22 points, including six threes, along with freshman Didi Ryan adding 18 while inducing plenty of United turnovers at midcourt.

An early 18-4 lead following a 16-0 Kennedy run set the tone. It included two of Darney’s buckets from beyond the arc.

“I think it started on defense. Our defense is really good. We knew they were a good team, and we got some steals on defense and translated that into some points,” Darney said. “Not only me, but we’re a shooting team. I feel like once we all make one, it just keeps going from there.”

Senior Marina Sanders (nine points), sophomore Gianna Pompelia (11 points), and freshman Laney Condoleon (five points) also contributed to the Eagles’ 11 made three-pointers.

Ryan’s continuous drives to the lane paid off. Along with her scoring, it diverted attention away from the arc with United having to keep an eye on the paint.

“As we work the ball as a team, I think (scoring) comes naturally. Today we worked on just moving the ball as a team, getting the open spaces and working the ball to get those open buckets,” Ryan said. “As long as we keep our foot on the pedal and keep pushing toward the hoop, finishing our buckets and making good passes, that’s what really gets us going.”

It was a big rebound win for Kennedy after losing its last contest before the break in action.

“This team doesn’t take losses lightly. We don’t like to lose, so we knew coming off (the last game), losing wasn’t an option and we were going to win this game,” Darney said. “United was a very good team. This is a huge win for us, and we just want to keep it going.”

United (7-2) was paced by senior Grace Knight’s 21 points, while fellow senior Addy Blazer tacked on eight points. It was also a milestone afternoon for Blazer, who broke the Golden Eagles’ career assist mark of 276 that was previously set last winter by Madison Kibler.

Blazer also owns the single-season assist mark of 118 during the 2022-2023 campaign.

“(Kennedy) made several threes. We thought we were in their face a little bit, but it’s got to be that extra step to make them put that on the floor and do something that’s a little more uncomfortable for them,” United coach Cory Leek said. “Right now with the teams that we’ve played, that’s one of the best teams we’ve played, probably the best shooting team we’ve played this year.”

“Addy is a stat-stuffer, if you look at our stats, she’s averaging 5.5 assists a game, about 4 rebounds a game, she’s averaging about 9 steals a game and double figures in scoring. She just kind of goes out there and leads our team on the floor and one of our five captains we have in our seniors. Grace Knight did a good job today of being on the lucky end of some of those assists from Addy and scoring for us, trying to keep us in the game there.”


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Warren JFK cruises past United Local

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