January 14, 2020
It was a wild fourth quarter. Kenston was clinging to a six-point lead opening the final quarter and was badly in need of some sort of spark to get the offense going. It got just that as Hudson senior center Kate Orazen picked up her fifth foul early on which led to a disagreement between Explorers’ head coach Dennis Lawler and the officials. Lawler was issued a technical foul and that spurred an offensive surge from Kenston.
Hudson was now without its rim protector leaving a lot of open real estate in the paint and Kenston sophomore guard Sam Bergansky came up big by canning a pair of triples to help the Bombers open up a 40-29 lead midway through the fourth. The Explorers refused to go quietly and put together a 15-9 run to make a five-point game with under a minute left in regulation but Kenston withstood the rally.
“The one thing I’m proud of is that we grew up today. We had a lot of kids step up and execute and come through for us,” said Bombers’ head coach John Misenko.
Dec. 19 was the last time that Kenston had played a game. Although the team had not suffered any virus outbreaks the Western Reserve Conference had been shut down forcing it to lose several conference games. Other non-conference games on the schedule had also been wiped out as multiple schools had pressed the pause button on their athletic programs. The Bombers could still hold team practices during that stretch but did enjoy some time off due to the holidays. It showed that they hadn’t played in a while once tip-off rolled around.
Despite the rust Kenston held a 14-13 lead after the first quarter. The second quarter saw the Bombers play lockdown defense. Although the team is young, coach Misenko’s message is the same as ever and that is to adopt a defensive-first mentality. The Bombers were not shy about being physical and forced six Explorers’ turnovers to hold them to just six points.
“Basically what Coach Misenko said is our team is based off of defense,” said Kenston junior guard Catarra DeJarnette, “If you get defensive steals and play good defense our offense will come. That was a way for us to get easy open shots.”
The third quarter saw the roles reversed. The Explorers were the ones playing aggressive defense and the Bombers could not find any rhythm in their offense. The team committed ten turnovers which led to Hudson making a 5-0 run to tie the game. DeJarnette ignited the offense in the closing minute as she forced two turnovers in the backcourt to spur a 6-0 run to end the third quarter.
“I think there’s definitely a time where we were all in our own heads,” said Bombers’ senior forward Kate Haynes, “I think it shows a lot about the team how we were able to get out of that and pull through for the win and play harder in the fourth quarter to make up for it.”
The Bombers are on a mission right now. They want it to be crystal clear that any team thinking of writing them off due to their youth would be making a mistake. The team is trending in the right direction and is eager to make a statement in the Western Reserve Conference and despite its inexperience is proving that it is still capable of playing elite defense.
DeJarnette led the way for the Bombers as she tallied 18 points, four rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots followed by Bergansky with 12 points, three rebounds and one assist and Haynes who had seven points, 16 rebounds, four assists and one block. Explorers’ junior forward Delaney DiGeronimo poured in 15 points and hauled in five boards and junior guard Ali Mendendez had seven points, three rebounds and three assists.