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North County News (newspaper) – Boys Basketball Article

The following article can be found on www.NCNLocal.com or by purchasing the newspaper at your local gas station or deli in the Somers/Yorktown area.  Please support the North County News by purchasing the weekly newspaper (for $.75) as they consistently promote Kennedy Catholic as well as other area schools in a very positive light.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL — Kennedy Catholic Head Coach Frank Kelly told his squad if they won their first two games, they could have the weekend off from practice.

Well, there were no Kennedy players in sight at the Somers gym last weekend.

Kennedy started the season at 2-0; crushing visiting Yorktown, 77-53, Dec. 8, followed by a 77-33 rout of visiting Arlington Dec. 10.

The Gaels recorded their first win over the Huskers since the 2007-08 season in front of a raucous, standing-room only crowd.

“We were so fired up for this game,” said Kennedy senior point guard Frankie Kelly, who finished with 19 points and seven assists.

The third quarter was all Kennedy. The Gaels started the quarter on an 11-1 run and outscored the Huskers 24-10 to cruise to the victory. Senior forward Dan Healy, who netted a game-high 25 points and grabbed six rebounds, scored 18 points in the second half.

It seemed like Kennedy, which was constantly getting out in its transition game in the second half, was running circles around Yorktown at times.

“We work so hard on our conditioning,” Frankie said. “I feel like we were just beating them down the court.”

“I told them at halftime that our conditioning was going to take over in the second half,” said Coach Kelly, who is in his second season as head coach. “We took it to them. They’re (Yorktown) a good team and they played hard. We substituted a little bit more, so I think we have a few more horses.

“I could see that we were wearing them down and it was only a matter of time before we went on a big run.”

Yorktown Head Coach Steve Veteri didn’t think the game was won or lost in the third quarter.

“Kennedy played four-and-a-half quarters of basketball, which is unheard of,” Veteri said. “We played about a quarter-and-a-half of basketball. We got outworked from start to finish. We just didn’t have an answer to deal with their intensity.”

Senior Ryan Hickey, who scored 13 points, capped off the win over Yorktown with a monster dunk that brought down the packed house.

After Yorktown cut the deficit to 32-27 late in the second quarter, the Gaels fired right back. A bucket from Hickey followed by Frankie banking in a 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Kennedy a 37-27 halftime lead.

“That’s a great shot and it’s one in the heart for them (Yorktown),” Coach Kelly said.

Frankie’s 3-pointer was preceded by a missed 3-point attempt by Yorktown’s Dante Dixon.

“That’s a dagger (Frankie’s 3-pointer),” Veteri said. “I would have been very happy going in with a seven-point deficit at halftime.”

Yorktown senior star Jordan Moody was held in check by the Gaels’ press and junior forward Jordan Hardy for much of the afternoon. Moody finished with 15 points, 12 of which came in the second half.

“We did the press back to the 3-2 zone,” Frankie said. “We basically tried to make him hit shots and keep him out of the lane.”

Overall, the Huskers struggled against the Gaels’ intensity and pressure and committed 17 turnovers.

Hardy, who ended up with 12 points and 12 rebounds, impressed his coach and teammates with his gritty performance.

“I think Jordan Hardy was a big key today,” Coach Kelly said. “I’ve been on him in practice and he responded. He had a big game.”

“He’s a beast down low,” Frankie added.

The story for the Huskers was Dixon, a junior transfer from Woodlands, who scored 19 of his 26 points in the first half. He was electric from long range, sinking five 3s.

“Dante’s a big lift for us right now,” Veteri said.

Coach Kelly admitted they didn’t know much about Dixon coming into the game. But they sure found out what he was made of quickly.

“He killed us (in the first half),” Coach Kelly said. “I didn’t realize he was such a good shooter. We paid a little more attention to him in the second half and it worked out.”

Yorktown was without 6-5 sophomore forward Chris Schmitz, who is sidelined with a stress fracture in his foot, and his absence was apparent. The undersized Huskers were dominated on the glass.

“I think in the first half they had more offensive rebounds than we had defensive rebounds,” Veteri said. “That can’t happen.

“But it’s game one right now. I saw some real good things out there. We’ve got to grow as a team.”

Alex Poritzky scored six points for Yorktown, while Sly Lamarrugine netted four for Kennedy.

Yorktown (1-2) rebounded with a 55-25 win over Riverside on Dec. 9, but fell to Greeley, 49-44, in the finals of the Horace Greeley Tournament. Dixon led the way with 18 points.

Healy paced the Gaels with 22 points (three 3s) in the win over the Admirals. Frankie added 16 points, while Hardy had seven.

Kennedy, who fell in the Class A quarterfinals last season, is setting high goals.

“My expectation is to go undefeated,” Frankie said.

So far, so good.