It has become an annual tradition for Kenwood and St. Ignatius to face off in the final week of the regular season.
Under normal circumstances, Kenwood’s 52-43 win would have been little more than a tuneup just before playoffs, but as both teams have recently made it a habit to face each other in the regional finals the following week, Wednesday’s game bore more weight then your average non-conference match up.
“This is always our game before state and ironically the same thing happening this year, happened two years ago.” said Kenwood head coach Andre Lewis. “I thought it was a good sound win coming off our heartbreaking loss against Simeon in the City Championship and it was good to get back on a winning track.”
Whether it was the poor conditions outside or end of the season fatigue, Kenwood and Ignatius got out to slow starts offensively.
Neither team pushed the tempo early which led to long possessions and when teams did get a look at the basket, more often than not their shots rattled out, even on layups.
The slow start worked in favor of Ignatius whose three point shooting gave them a slight 12-10 advantage after the first quarter.
Lewis said: “We got here late so we didn’t get a chance to get loose and get warm so it took a little while for us to get into the game.”
Kenwood shook off their slow start early in the second quarter by picking up the pace and pushing up the line.
By forcing the issue, and crashing the glass, the Broncos went on an 11-2 run, taking as much seven point lead before settling for a 27-24 advantage at the half.
The teams would exchange leads throughout the third quarter but despite the close affair, Kenwood managed to keep Ignatius’ Molly Gannon (14 points, three assists) relativity quiet throughout the night.
“I fortunately have the pleasure of coaching Molly during AAU season so I know her pretty well,” said Lewis. “When playing against Molly you have to keep her off balance with different looks, crowd her sometimes and make her feel a little uncomfortable.”
Even without huge contributions from Gannon, St. Ignatius entered the quarter with a one point lead, but it would be Kenwood’s defense that would shut the door on Ignatius, allowing the Wolfpack to only score just two field goals in the final quarter.
Kenwood would do just well enough from the free throw line (8-12 in the fourth quarter) down the stretch to keep Ignatius at an arms length away for the 52-43 win.
Jonaie Johnson had another excellent game for Kenwood with a game high 15 points to go along with nine rebounds, three assists and four steals. Tamara Nard added a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Both teams have now concluded the regular season portion of the schedule and will both compete in the St. Ignatius regional starting on Tuesday.