O’Neil Glenn summed it up rather simply.
“We didn’t rebound the ball,” the John F. Kennedy girls’ basketball coach said.
That was the difference between winning and losing Friday night as Murry Bergtraum snapped the Knights’ 12-game victory streak with a 64-47 rout. Lady Blazers junior forward Shukurah Washington grabbed 20 rebounds, junior Laray Drayton had 11 rebounds and senior guard Shanee Williams added eight.
Bergtraum crashed the boards and, with Kennedy (16-3, 8-3) playing a zone, the Knights’ big girls, senior Darleen McLeod and sophomore Iraida Santiago, were left to go it alone. Santiago was taken out of the game late in the third in foul trouble, but Glenn never put her back in because she was struggling on the boards, he said.
“They had five people crashing the boards,” McLeod said. … “I can’t do it myself.”
Everything seemed fine for Kennedy at halftime. The Knights were down only, 29-28, and even held the lead some of the second quarter. And that was without star senior guard Teara Shaw, who got called for her third foul late in the first.
It became apparent during a 24-7 fourth quarter for Bergtraum (20-0, 13-0) that Kennedy actually had missed a chance. Had Shaw been in the game in the second quarter when the Lady Blazers were not playing well – missing outside shots and open layups alike – maybe the Knights could have built a solid advantage.
“We would have had a good opportunity in the second quarter,” a visibly upset Shaw said.
Without Shaw, the Knights missed five free throws and missed a handful of putbacks. After halftime, Bergtraum found a second gear and Kennedy never seemed to get out of park. Shaw finished with 16 points, but no one else was in double figures for JFK.
“We had to keep our intensity up,” Shaw said. “We were playing on their level in the first half.”
Glenn summed it up more bluntly. He was upset with his players settling for jumpers in the second half when they had opportunities to go to the free-throw line with Bergtraum in the one-and-one.
“They wanted it more than us,” he said. … “We don’t have the focus they do.”
This is hardly the end of the road for Kennedy, which still figures to get a top-five seed in the PSAL Class AA city playoffs. But this one certainly will sting for awhile, playing head-to-head with one of the best teams in the country for a half and letting things slip away in the third quarter.
“We,” McLeod said, “didn’t take advantage.”