An opening run and a fourth period rally were all the defending PIAA state champs needed.
By BILL ALBRIGHT
SHARON, Pa. -- Playing in spurts, Kennedy Catholic still had enough firepower in its arsenal to post a 71-62 win over Warren JFK Friday.
The Golden Eagles (13-5) outscored JFK by a 19-2 margin during the opening six minutes before going on a 9-2 run during the first four minutes of the third period for a 28-4 bulge during the two streaks.
"We got into that pattern where we just stand around, get a few turnovers and don't run the offense aggressively," said Kennedy Catholic coach Tim Loomis. "We let them back into the game, but then we picked it back up at the end. That has been our pattern."
JFK (6-7) played well in posting a 57-44 edge during the remaining 22 minutes of the game, but it proved to be too little, too late.
"We didn't play defense in the first quarter," said JFK coach John Condoleon. "That was the difference between the first and third quarters because even though we didn't score to begin the third period, we played good, hard solid defense."
JFL battles back: Facing the 17-point deficit in the opening period and trailing at one point by 21 in the third, JFK could have thrown in the towel. But the Eagles clawed their way back to 53-49 with just under six minutes left.
"They could have buried their heads when they were down 21," Condoleon said. "But they came back to get to within four and that is just a tribute to them, to the program and the way we play defense."
JFK's comeback didn't surprise Loomis.
"They are a very good shooting team," hes aid. "If you let them stand and shoot, they give you a lot of problems."
Dan McElhinny finished with 21 points including four 3s, while Reimold returned to the Kennedy lineup after suffering an ankle injury to pour in another 17.
For JFK, Keith Black tied McElhinny for game honors with 21 points, while Black was joined in doubles by Chris Macali with 17 and Colin Clemente with a dozen. Black also dished out six assists, while Luke Vincer added seven boards to his seven points.