After an impressive year, the Kenwood Lady Broncos saw their season end with a 53-64 loss to rivals Whitney Young in the state sectionals at Lyons Township High School on Tuesday, Feb. 23.
Kenwood and Whitney Young faced off at the Credit Union 1 Arena earlier this month on Feb. 12, when the Dolphins took down Kenwood to win the Chicago Public League championship. At the start of last night’s grudge match, the Lady Broncos — who dominated their conference this season and won the regional round of the state tournament last week — looked eager to try and redeem themselves.
But the first half was rough for Kenwood, as they struggled to gain the lead. Senior guard Brianna McDaniel, usually prolific from beyond the arc, only hit one three-pointer. Layups and defending got the better of the Broncos, who only scored 14 points through the first two quarters, compared to Whitney Young’s 27.
Kenwood coach Andre Lewis said that he felt they didn’t execute their game plan during the first half at all. “If we execute in the first half and then we have the great run, then the tables turn,” he said. “We didn't do that. And it's just about being able to execute in big moments and we didn't do that tonight.”
Lewis said the energy that the team had during the second half was integral to winning and was needed during the entirety of the game.
Senior guard DonYeil Bolton did an excellent job in the paint, retrieving rebounds and hitting layups during the second half. Kenwood closed in on the Dolphins, who were ineffective against the Broncos’ defense early in the 4th quarter.
Fans of the Broncos looked hopeful as the team crawled its way out of a 20-point gap. In the middle of the 4th quarter, Kenwood trailed by as little as 3 points. But Kenwood’s free throws were spotty, and the team sent Whitney Young to the foul line too many times, leading to easy points.
Freshman Diann Jackson, a forward, said that she felt like she could have done a better job at helping the team out, but thought that she did a good job of rebounding. Junior Ayanna Jackson shouted out Bolton, crediting her with getting them back into the game.
“Next time we just need to execute our plays better and keep the same momentum the whole game. I should have made more free throws and drove the ball more,” said Jackson.
She said that although the team had a lot of goals they didn’t achieve this year, it's going to push them to work harder for next season.