Kennedy heads into postseason on high note
It’s quality over quantity when it comes to the John F. Kennedy bench.
“We have a small team, but everybody plays,” Leshauna Phinazee said. “The level of play won’t change. We have a deep bench.”
The Knights don’t have the biggest roster, but O’Neil Glenn gets the most out of his reserves. Wednesday’s regular season finale at Francis Lewis is a perfect example – JFK had a 24-3 edge in bench points in a 49-30 victory.
“We’re healthy and as you saw today, I played everyone,” Glenn said. “I’m just trying to get everyone to play at a high level so we can try to wear teams down.”
No one came up bigger off the bench than Zakira Mason. The junior small forward had 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field.
“I just sit down and watch little mistakes they do and I just try and go and correct it and do my best,” she said.
Phinazee was equally huge with 14 points and 15 rebounds.
“She’s a good player, I think she’s a Division I player,” Glenn said. “Hopefully someone will recognize she’s a talented kid with great grades and give her a scholarship.”
Following a sloppy first half, JFK (16-8), ranked No. 14 in New York City by MSG Varsity, pushed the tempo after halftime and got a bevy of buckets in transition.
“At halftime coach told us we needed to pick it up and come out hard in the third and that’s what we did,” Phinazee said.
Francis Lewis coach Steve Tsai, though, said his team was as responsible for the Knights layups on the break.
“That was the worst we’ve played in a long, long time. You have to give them some credit, but it’s really on us,” he said. “The amount of turnovers we had and we gave up so many easy transition baskets. I think we just had a mental breakdown today.”
Leading 34-27 after three quarters, JFK broke the game open in the fourth. The Knights trapped and forced turnovers out of their 2-3 zone and held No. 15 Francis Lewis (10-9) to just three points in the final eight minutes.
“That was our 2-3 zone, but hey, we have to go with what we go with it,” Glenn said. “It was working so we’ll continue with it.”
After a rollercoaster regular season, JFK heads into the playoffs on a high note. And for the first time in a very long time, the PSAL title seems to be completely up for grabs.
“I think this championship is wide open, anybody can win this one,” Phinazee said. “There’s no team out there that’s so great that nobody can beat them. It’s a level playing field and the championship is up in the air.”
Added Glenn: “It’s anybody’s game. I don’t care what seed I get. Kick down the doors and let’s go. That’s how I feel. We’ve got two weeks to work on things.”
Confidence at JFK isn’t a problem. Just ask Mason.
“We’re going to the Garden,” Mason said.
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