Chemistry, continuity keys to Kennedy’s success -- Gazette.Net


The John F. Kennedy High School girls’ basketball team (15-2 as of Monday) is having a near-perfect season, improving on last year’s 15-9 record with its only losses coming against Paint Branch. The Cavaliers are handling opponents with ease, winning four straight since a 49-45 loss to the Panthers.

Kennedy coach Kevin Thompson attributed the team’s success to chemistry and continuity.

“You have good chemistry when you have good kids and they like playing with each other,” he said. “They like each other off the court and on the court. The chemistry is huge.”

The team returned most of its lineup and has benefitted from Daysha Adams’s breakout season. The fifth-year senior is averaging a team-high 14.6 points after missing most of the last two years with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease affecting the thyroid. She has been one of the county’s premier shooters, leading the 4A East Division with 55 3-pointers.

Adams has made life easier on the rest of the team, Thompson said, by drawing attention and freeing up space for her teammates. For example, Makeda Wright has improved as a distributor with Adams back in the lineup. Though her scoring has decreased by about two points (11.1), she has been more effective running the offense.

“Last year I needed her to score ... This year since everyone around her got better, she’s finding her teammates,” Thompson said. “She’s adjusted to the girls getting better around her and she’s done it with a great attitude.”

The Cavaliers lost to Walter Johnson in the playoffs the past two seasons.

“I honestly think we have a shot to get out of the region,” Thompson said. “It’s not going to come without serious opposition but I think our makeup will allow us to compete against any team.”

Damascus clinches its division

Damascus (18-2, 9-0 as of Monday) is a win away from achieving a perfect Montgomery 3A/2A Division record, with its regular season finale against Rockville scheduled for Friday.

The No. 1 Swarmin’ Hornets defeated Seneca Valley 54-31 on Feb. 11, completing the season sweep of their division foe.

Senior Kelli Prange scored 28 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, connecting on 13 of 15 field goals.

“Props to my teammates,” Prange said after the game. “Our game plan every game is to get it inside. Since I have a huge height advantage, we take advantage of that every game, so props to my teammates for getting me the ball.”

Damascus won 55-50 when the teams met Jan. 8.

“I think it was just a good team effort because defensively, you have to play good team defense against (Seneca Valley),” Damascus coach Steve Pisarski said. “It was more defense than any one person, but Kelli and [Jenna Kaufman’s] performance from an offensive standpoint and a rebounding standpoint are pretty big.”

The Swarmin’ Hornets beat Albert Einstein 54-20 on Saturday.

Holy Child extends streak

Connelly School of the Holy Child won its 16th consecutive game against Episcopal Jan. 11, defeating the Independent School League ‘A’ opponent 53-50.

Holy Child (20-3, 11-1) has not lost since it was defeated by Episcopal 48-33 in December.

The Tigers are led by Talley Britt, a 5-foot-3 senior averaging a team-high 12.5 points per game. Lilly Paro (10.4) and Mary Claire Byrne (10.1) round out Holy Child’s top scorers.

Kyle Russell contributed.

Best bet

Kennedy at Whitman, 7 p.m. Friday

The Cavaliers face their biggest test since Paint Branch while the balanced Vikings look to add another impressive victory to their resume.