By Joe Slye, Gem of the Sound Sports Reporter
It’s been a slow start for Kennedy Catholic boys as basketball season opens.
It looked like the biggest challenge for the Kennedy Catholic boys’ basketball team would just be playing a game. The first two games on the schedule (Camas on November 30th and Stadium on December 1st) were canceled due to a flu bug in the team and bad weather. Finally, on Saturday, December 3rd, the Lancers tipped off the season against the Woodinville Falcons in a tournament game played at Auburn Riverside High School.
Four sophomores received most of the playing time, along with the only senior on the current roster. Some players coming off the state championship football team should be added soon once their minimum required basketball practice time is met.
When Kennedy Catholic takes the floor, you will see these four sophomores in uniform: #1 Brady Wong, #2 Lorenzo Garcia, #3 Kaden Truong, and #4 Taylor Mwale.
In the games played so far, each of these players has logged around 25 to 30 minutes of playing time (in a 32-minute game).
The fifth spot and backup support are provided by sophomore #12 Che Amaral and senior #13 Zach Hatcher, who average about 20 minutes of playing time. Junior #22 Nate Dial, sophomore #23 Tristian Baze, and junior #24 Luke Logan have been seeing some spot duty.
Primarily made up of sophomores, this young group is coming along. Some of them are new to the size and speed at the varsity level.
They make up for what they lack in experience with the hustle and a never-quit attitude.
It has been a tough start, with just three games played so far. However, the young players have adjusted to the pace with each game and are seeing things slow down. They are finding their spots on the floor and their role on the team.
- Game One – December 3rd
Opening game – against the Woodinville Falcons, rated in the Max Preps top 25. After trailing just 30-24 at the half, the Lancers were put away in the second half and lost 74-50.
- Game two – December 5th
Against the Auburn Riverside Ravens. Another slow start had the Lancers down by 14 at the half. The third quarter was even, and in the fourth quarter, Kennedy Catholic outscored the Ravens 23-14. Still not enough points, however, as the final score was 62-57 in favor of Auburn Riverside.
- Game Three – December 8th
Against the Kent-Meridian Royals. Utilizing a pressure defense, the Royals had just seven turnovers and forced 28 to secure a 93-55 win. While down early, the Lancers played hard until the end. Even with their chance to win slipping away, the players gave 100% effort! They worked on their plays, ran their defense, and absorbed the live game experience; they did not give up and go away. They played a close second half. Kent-Meridian jumped ahead early but had to contend with 32 minutes of Lancer hustling play to get their win.
Summing up the start of the season, Head coach Greg Caldwell shared, “We are young; some guys are getting varsity experience for the first time…a fantastic group to work with, and we look forward to improving throughout the season.”
That showed up in games one and three with a combined 51 turnovers to just 20 for the opponents. Kent-Meridian used the turnovers to rally for stretches of 3, 4, or 5 baskets in a row off the miscues. These rallies made it impossible to get back into the game. Turnovers should go away with more game experience.
The three-point shot is a big part of the Lancer game. For three games, they have made 39 of 81 two-point shots (48%) and 22 of 65 (34%) three-point shots.
Not too bad, but a few-point improvement in shooting percentage could make the difference in close games as the year progresses.
Scoring “points-in-the-paint” is a glaring weakness of this Lancer team. They have been outscored 64 to 130 “in the paint” in three games. (Without any dominant height, this is why the three-point shot is used so much.) We may see improvement as the roster expands by adding a few football players with height and experience. They should complement the current speedy, hustling play.
Scoring is led by Lorenzo Garcia, averaging 19 points per game, and Taylor Mwale with 14.
They have taken turns being the leading scorer each game. Other scoring is spread among all players, but only Kaden Truong has been in double figures with his 12 points against Woodinville.
- Tuesday, December 13th, 7:00 PM vs. Kentlake High School at Kentlake
- Friday, December 16th, 7:00 PM vs. Federal Way High School at Kennedy Catholic
- Saturday, December 17th, 11:30 AM vs. Puyallup High School at Tahoma High School
- Wednesday, December 28th, 7:00 PM vs. Issaquah High School at Kennedy Catholic