JFK rallies to beat Badger, 66-53 | News, Sports, Jobs

JFK rallies to beat Badger, 66-53 | News, Sports, Jobs

Staff photo / Brian Yauger. Warren JFK’s Gianna Pompelia drives and kicks the ball out to a shooter during the Eagles’ game against Badger on Tuesday.

WARREN — Warren JFK found itself cornered early. A tough Badger team had them pinned. Shots weren’t falling for the Eagles, and nothing was going Kennedy’s way.

Then, something clicked. The shots started falling and the Eagles clawed back out of that corner. What was a 14-point deficit early in the first quarter evolved into a 66-53 Kennedy victory.

The Braves opened the game on a 16-2 run, but once the Eagles got comfortable, they took over.

“I think once they saw the light of ‘Hey, we made little runs and spurts,’ I think they had the energy to get back in this one,” Eagles coach Marc Morgan said. “I think from playing (Canton) McKinley and being in that situation where you’re in a corner, and you’ve got to fight really, really hard to get out, it made it a little easier for us to get to that point.

“I think for them to see that ‘Hey, we fought against that kind of team. We should be able to do it here.’ I think it gives us some confidence.”

The Eagles’ approach against Badger’s fast start was just to make the Braves play at a faster tempo than they wanted. They forced Badger to rush plays, rush shots, and it allowed the Eagles to push their way back into the game.

“I know we have the shooters that can get us back (in a game) fast, but you don’t really know what’s going to happen,” Morgan said. “I thought with them not playing yet, haven’t been in basketball shape, that we could spend them, extend them and make them expend more energy than they wanted to, even though they were making a run.

“They were actually getting some easier shots, they were just missing them because they were like us on Sunday (against Canton McKinley). The tempo was pushed up a little bit, (so they had to rush shots, and when) you start missing shots like that, then it starts to get in your head.”

When the dust settled, Ava Darney finished the game with 23 points. Andrea Ryan added 17.

Pacing the Braves was Katie Grexa who had a game-high 24 points. Senior Brianna Huscroft tacked on 11.

Badger falls to 0-1 on the season.

It’s the Braves’ first season under coach Patrick Carney, who was an assistant on the boys team for six seasons and took over a program with a solid foundation. They just need to get up to game speed.

The Braves had a promising start Tuesday, now they just need to put all the pieces together.

“We’re going to have to be able to defend the basketball at a high level, we’re going to have to be able to speed teams up, make them uncomfortable, give them different looks and mix and match different things,” Carney said. “Now we need to do a little bit better job communicating and finishing off possessions. Our rebounding was really good at times, and sometimes it was a little inconsistent.

“And just better communication on defense. We were losing our girl too many times, not being in the right spot a couple of times. So our seniors and our upperclassmen leaders have got to be leaders on the floor as well, and make sure they’re helping some of the younger ones out. And make sure they understand what it is we’re trying to do.”

Badger gets its next chance on the court on Thursday when it hosts Fairport Harding.

Kennedy (2-1) squares off with an unbeaten Champion team on Saturday.

“They haven’t lost yet and they’re a pretty good team,” Morgan said. “They’ve really got some good shooters. They’ve got an inside game. We’re going to have to play well again. Hopefully we’re learning from each battle.”

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