Team Chemistry Helping Kennedy Boys Basketball Thrive
It looks like it could be a special year for Kennedy's boys basketball team. The Cavaliers are 5-0 in this young season, which includes lopsided victories against Wootton, Wheaton and Churchill. Last night, Kennedy beat Einstein 86-61. The team's other win was an 80-72 win against Gaithersburg, which knocked Kennedy out of the MPSSAA state playoffs last season.
For head coach Diallo Nelson, the team already looks different than it did last season when Kennedy had talent but was inexperienced. That inexperience cost the Cavaliers in numerous close games, but the team still finished the season 17-7.
With four of last year's starters returning and plenty of solid options at multiple positions, the team's intangibles shouldn't be an issue this season.
"Our strengths this year will be our experience, athleticism and strength of character," Nelson said. "We have great leadership on this team, the majority of them came through middle school with each other and they have real friendships with one another."
The Cavaliers meshing well off the court has translated to success on it.
Senior guard Jonathan Mustamu has had an explosive start to the year averaging 27.6 points per game. Mustamu's fellow senior guard Justin Dantzler is contributing 13 points per game, while junior guard Jason Nyamey adds 10 points per game.
Kennedy's forwards have also enjoyed a fast start. Junior Habaccuc Regnis is averaging a double double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while senior Jomaite Tavarez has contributed 10 rebounds and eight points per game.
"We like to get up and down the court, create a transition oriented game with the most emphasis on defensive execution," Nelson said. "In an ideal situation our defense will create the majority of our offensive opportunities."
The team has been doing a good job of creating those fast break opportunities thus far but Nelson believes the team needs to finish those chances better for the group to reach its full potential.
That potential appears to be pretty high, though Nelson knows how tough it will be for Kennedy to continue its current rate of success. It looks like Montgomery County will have another strong boys basketball season, and Kennedy is scheduled to face a few of the top teams in Quince Orchard, Blake and Magruder.
Although the road ahead looks tough, it looks like Kennedy should be expected to be in the mix at the top of Montgomery County's standings.
"Our goals and expectations are very simple- we want to compete and execute at the highest level, and leave it all on the court every night," Nelson said. "Hopefully that will be enough for a division, region and state championship. That is always the ultimate goal for every player and coach when you play high school athletics."
|December 20th, 2016||By: Wick Eisenberg|