By Joe Slye
Kennedy Catholic boys’ basketball shows improvement in the Christmas Shootout tournament.
The Kennedy Catholic boys’ basketball team participated in the annual Kennedy Christmas Shootout Tournament. The holiday tournament was played at Kennedy Catholic High School on December 28-30, 2022. The tournament features 8 boys’ teams from our local area. Each team played three games during the three-day event. The Lancers opened with the Issaquah Eagles on Wednesday, December 28, then played the Inglemoor Vikings on Thursday, December 29, and finished with the Emerald Ridge Jaguars on Thursday, December 30. The tournament was a good test for the young Lancer team. They had a chance to have the entire team together after the recent addition of players now eligible who had finished the extended football season. The improved play was evident each game as new players filled early season deficiencies and found their roles on the team.
Issaquah Eagles: Kennedy Catholic opened with a hustling, attacking style of play. They looked like a team that had found the formula for a successful night. With 5 minutes to go in the second quarter, the Lancers were behind by one 21-22…and then it all changed. The offense missed a few shots and had some turnovers that led to some easy Issaquah three-point scores and fast break points. By halftime, the Lancers were trailing 41-21 after giving up 19 unanswered points to the Eagles. At the end of the third quarter, it was 60-32, and the chances for a comeback were slim. A team that never quits, Kennedy Catholic made a run at getting back in the game. They outscored Issaquah 24-8 in the fourth quarter but came up on the short end of a 68-56 loss. One significant positive change in this game…Kennedy Catholic had just 13 turnovers to 16 for Issaquah. On the downside, the Lancers gave up 18 points on free throws being just 5 for 11 to 23 for 28 for Issaquah.
Inglemoor Vikings: Another hustling, attacking opening by Kennedy Catholic, but this time they maintained the energy for four quarters and secured a 60-55 win, the Lancers’ best game of the year so far. They still gave up too many turnovers, 17 to only 8 for Inglemoor, but the hustle and determination to win a game were evident. Lorenzo Garcia led the Lancers with 21 points. His timely “5 for 8” 3-point shots kept the Lancer momentum going in the second half. Maclane Watkins played a huge role in the closing 4 minutes with stops on defense and rebounds. He showed the grit the team needed not to let this win get away. Down 35-31 at the half, Kennedy Catholic outscored Inglemoor 17-5 in the third quarter and held their own in the fourth quarter for the victory.
Emerald Ridge Jaguars: This game started out ugly. At the end of the first quarter, Emerald Ridge led 8-4, but then the game turned into a pretty good contest. Kennedy Catholic had a big second quarter and led at halftime 25-20. The Lancers slipped a bit but still led by one after three quarters, 36-35. The fourth quarter could have been better for the Lancers as they ran out of gas and lost 55-48. Once again, turnovers were a costly stat for Kennedy Catholic. The Lancers gave up 27 points off 22 turnovers and scored just 6 points off the 14 turnovers they forced. Lorenzo Garcia had another solid offensive performance, leading the Lancers scoring with 21 points. Three games in three days was an excellent opportunity for the team to get lots of playing time against good competition. However, the young team’s energy level faded late in game three.
Next up: 2023 brings a busy slate of games in January. The team has displayed improved play, and when adhering to the SCRAP team motto (Sprint, Communicate, Rebound, Attack the paint, Protect the paint), good things happen. Still a work in progress, but things look to be on the upswing for this Lancer team.