PIAA Radkowski powers Kennedy
The post player's second-half scoring thwarts Sharon.
SHARON -- So much for homecourt advantage.
In the first meeting of the season between Kennedy Catholic and Sharon, the Tigers posted a 45-41 road win.
Monday night, however, it was the Golden Eagles with the road win, as they came from behind for a 45-38 victory.
"I think a little bit of our experience showed today," said Kennedy coach Pat Mastrian. "These girls have been in playoffs since they were freshmen, and they played games in bigger places than this one. They didn't get distracted by the crowd. Once they settled down, they were OK."
Sharon (15-4, 12-1) led the entire first half as it scored the first six points of the game and led by four (15-11) at the end of the first period. Although Sharon led by as many as eight points early in the second quarter, the Eagles came back to cut the deficit to four (23-19) at halftime.
Sharon coach Gene Sarazen felt Kennedy was able to stay close because his team wasn't taking advantage of its opportunities, despite holding a huge edge in rebounds.
"We boxed out well, but we just didn't shoot the ball very well," he said. "We missed too many layups early, and our quickness wasn't a factor like it usually is.
"I don't know if we were a little bit tired or whether their being sophomores in front of a big crowd like this one, maybe they got a little nervous."
If there was a difference for Kennedy (15-3, 11-1) down the stretch, it was the dominant effort by post player Kendra Radkowski. Held to five points in the first half, Radkowski finished with a game-high 21.
"Kendra really came up big for us," said Mastrian. "We have been working on changing up on some of our plays to get the ball inside to her because as teams scout you, you have to look for other ways to make it happen. Tonight, especially in the second half, we were able to execute that very well."
No answer inside
Sarazen agreed that Radkowski's play was the difference in the second meeting.
"The last time we played them, they started to go to the big girl [Radkowski] and they didn't have a whole lot of success, but tonight, they got us by making those long passes, and she did what she had to do to handle us," he said.
Kennedy took its first lead when Radkowski got loose for a layup with less than two minutes remaining in the third period. From that point on, Radkowski paraded to the free throw line, making six of eight down the stretch.
The Golden Eagles outscored Sharon 12-7 in the third period and 14-8 in the fourth quarter.
"I think it was just a matter of us calming down in the third quarter," said Mastrian. "But the most pleasing thing about this win is that we executed well in the fourth quarter. Early in the season, I think that was the big factor in our losing the first three games."
Sarazen also felt that Kennedy's experience was a big factor late in the game.
"Most definitely their experience showed up when it counted," he said. "They [Kennedy] came off a big win over Farrell last week, and we played three games last week, so I think we are a little tired right now. We are going to try and regroup for the playoffs, and hopefully we can be a factor down the road."
Nikki Odem led the Tigers with 14 points. Brittany Csatlos and Aryn Christman added nine points each.