Kennedy Sets Late First Half Tone In Win Over Willamina

By Jeremy McDonald

MOUNT ANGEL, Ore.–  After seemingly a sluggish start to their Tri-River Conference League Playoff opener where they led 14-8 after one quarter against Willamina, Kennedy made the correct adjustments starting in the second quarter that swung momentum fully into their favor for the remainder of the game.  Trying a new offense, the Trojans expanded their lead 31-14 by halftime and and 45-26 in the second half as they took down the Bulldogs 58-33 to send the Kennedy squad to Salem on Thursday to play Salem Academy in the TRC League Tournament semi finals round.

“We were able to adjust just fine and started to get easy buckets,”  said Kennedy’s Brett Boen, who scored 19 points in the victory.    “I’m looking forward to playing (Salem Academy) after last time.  I think (Tuesday night’s win) it’s a huge, good momentum boost.  We made some dumb mistakes at the end of the game that we don’t normally do.  I know we won’t do it again, we just need to work on cleaning up a few things on the defensive end.  We got a new offense now, so we’ll be fine.  I trust in our guys that we’ll be able to do it.,” 

For Willamina, it was a tough way for the Bulldogs to exit the league tournament.  Willamina’s Cohen Haller points to them not being ready to play and prepared as they normally are. But as this season draws to a close for the squad, the Bulldogs could be one of the sleeper teams in league next season as they don’t graduate anyone from this year’s squad that went 14-10 overall and 7-7 in league play.  On top of that, they’ll be entering their second season in the TRC, giving them another crack at the tough league with the unfamiliarity they had with the league coming into it next year.

“I think we did well for really never having any tough opponents from our past years in our leagues.  We weren’t always in a very strong league and I don’t think it translated really well in coming into this one…(this year) has been really big for us when it comes to developing mentally, team bonding, team chemistry when it comes to listening  to each other and actually being there as teammates in a brotherhood kind of.  I think we have an idea of how close we need to be when it comes to our mental state and our physical practices,” Haller said. who led the Bulldogs with 15 points in the defeat.

Kaleb Cruicksank and Kaikonim Mercier each recorded four points for the Bulldogs.  William Schaecher scored 12 points for the Trojans, Javier Rodriguez contributed another nine for Kennedy in the win.

In the other Tri-River Conference League Playoff game Tuesday, Regis defeats Western Christian 59-57.


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