Kennedy grabs first state win since ’91

By Jeff Linder

The Gazette

DES MOINES — Trimester finals kept the majority of the Cedar Rapids Kennedy student body away from the girls’ state basketball tournament Wednesday afternoon.

They missed quite a show.

Ninth-ranked Kennedy played its most complete game of the season and swamped No. 8 Waukee, 68-50, in a Class 4A quarterfinal at Wells Fargo Arena.

“I’m still trying to process it all,” said Kennedy’s Jade Rogers, who accumulated 20 points and 14 rebounds. “This was the most pumped we’ve been all season.”

Kennedy (17-7) shot 56 percent from the field (67 percent in the second half), enjoyed a mammoth 40-17 rebounding advantage and won at state for the first time since 1991.

The reward: a semifinal date with No. 2 Sioux City North at noon Friday. North (23-1) whipped Indianola, 78-56, Wednesday.

Kennedy limped through the end of the regular season, dropping four straight games. That’s ancient history now.

The Cougars performed a miraculous rally in the regional finals against Iowa City High and are taking advantage of their new life.

Laura Boenish, whose numbers slipped somewhat this season, was a bonus offensively, scoring 17 points. Mariah Duke added 14 points, six assists and five steals.

Rogers, Boenish and Duke combined to make 20 of 29 field goal attempts.

Boenish was at her best in the second quarter, scoring 10 points in a 16-4 run as the Cougars turned a one-point deficit into a 32-21 lead.

“I grabbed her by the shoulders (Tuesday night) and told her that Waukee didn’t know who Laura Boenish was,” said Kennedy Coach Dennis Roloff. “I told her she was going to have the game of her life.”

Waukee (17-7) closed within 32-27 at halftime before the Cougars scampered away again.

Duke’s 3-pointer made it 40-28 with 6:04 left in the third quarter, and the Warriors didn’t get within single digits again.

It was 51-37 at the end of the third quarter, and the margin swelled to 23 points late in the game.

“We kept saying (at the end of the third quarter) that we weren’t going to let them back in it,” Boenish said. “We were going to keep fighting.”

Duke said, “We played as a team. We knew we could come out on top if we stayed confident and never gave in.”

Along the way, the Cougars got Waukee’s leading scorer, Megan Hogg, into serious foul trouble. She fouled out with 5:16 remaining and only nine points.

Kiersten Orton and Megan Goodson also scored nine for the Warriors.

Neither team had a senior in its starting lineup.

Finals continue at Kennedy today, then it’s back here Friday. It’s assumed that the student body will follow.

“I’m sure they will,” Rogers said. “I hope we can play like we did today.”


One Response to “Kennedy grabs first state win since ’91”

  1. Kennedy grabs first state win since ‘91 | Says:

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