The John F. Kennedy girls’ basketball team blew a 15-point, fourth-quarter lead to Archbishop Molloy on Thursday night and lost, 52-50, after a dramatic Stanners comeback in Briarwood.
Most would think JFK coach O’Neil Glenn would fly off the handle at his team. But that wasn’t’ so. It was actually the opposite.
“I’m happy this happened,” the 10th-year coach said. “This is good. This is what you call a good loss.”
And surprisingly so. Kennedy (18-6) was down, 33-32, after a basket by Nicole Marciniak with 3:44 left in the third quarter. Then the Knights went on a tear, a 16-0 run led by senior Teara Shaw’s seven points. It was the best basketball JFK has played since disappointing losses to Murry Bergtraum, Truman and Trenton Catholic (N.J.) in the last few weeks.
The Knights were struggling with issues – on the court and off it – and their performance before the Molloy comeback reaffirmed to Glenn and his players that they are still a force to be reckoned with in the PSAL Class AA playoffs, which begin next week. Prior to the Bergtraum loss, Kennedy had won 12 in a row and cemented itself as one of the best teams in New York City.
This week, JFK was ranked No. 10 in the city by FiveBoroSports.com and Molloy was No. 5.
Of course, that swagger took a bit of a hit when Molloy (15-9) went on a 13-0 run of its own. Some of that, though, was aided by the referees. There were questionable calls against each team, but the glaring ones came against Kennedy, none bigger than Jenkins’ foul on Marciniak with 1.5 seconds left. Marciniak grabbed her own rebound and fell over Jenkins, who had hit the floor during the play.
Marciniak, who had 28 points and 15 rebounds, made both free throws to tie the game at 50. Then, after Molloy junior Marielle Duryea stole the ensuing inbounds pass, Jenkins was called for another foul. The Kennedy guard ended up with a bloody lip and nose after it, though.
The coach had a bit of an embarrassing incident himself. Jenkins beat the Molloy press with Kennedy up, 50-48, but Glenn thought she was in trouble. He called timeout as she crossed halfcourt – right when she passed the ball to the opposite wing and Jazzarae Campbell went in for an easy layup. Referees whistled the basket off and gave Glenn the timeout.
“A bonehead move,” he said.