The John F. Kennedy girls’ basketball team had won 10 straight games coming in and it already seemed like the Knights were finding new ways to win games. But Saturday might have taken the cake.
JFK’s poor free-throw shooting – 7-of-20 in the 4th quarter let Briarcliff tie the score with 4.1 seconds left on a Brianna Reid basket. But the Bears, probably thinking they were still down in the game, fouled Kennedy senior Robyn Jenkins on the ensuing inbounds. Jenkins made both free throws and the Knights beat the defending state Federation Class B champs, 55-53, in a wild one at the John F. Kennedy Girls’ Basketball Classic in the Bronx.
Kennedy (16-2), which has now won 11 straight, started off strong and kept Briarcliff (13-1) at bay almost the entire game. Senior guard Teara Shaw had 20 points, Jenkins had 18 and senior forward Darleen McLeod had 12. But the Knights struggled from the line late and seemed to run out of gas. A day earlier, they beat rival Manhattan Center in an emotional league game. Coach O’Neil Glenn said he scheduled this one, against a tough team, for a reason. Albeit with a little luck, Kennedy pulled it out. The Knights, like they did Friday against Manhattan Center, made just enough plays to win. Shaw and Jenkins both had late steals and they – like they have been most of the season – were the catalysts.
McLeod, another 12th grader, also came up huge. The 5-foot-8 post knocked down a huge 3-pointer with 3:30 left in the game to put Kennedy ahead, 47-40. She was relentless down low all game, something that hasn’t been the case the entire season.
There were definitely some setbacks, though. The Knights struggled against the Bears’ second-half zone and their vaunted press defense – one that Glenn has used in his 10 years at the school – wasn’t very effective. Manhattan-bound Maggie Blair had 20 points and Reid added 10 for Briarcliff.
Kennedy was able to scratch and claw and walked away with another victory.