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GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Strong second half pushes Kennedy over Lincon Park

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Earlier this season the Kennedy girls’ basketball team fell to Lincoln Park for the Rails’ first league win in two years.

The two met on the court for the second time on Tuesday night and Kennedy made sure the outcome was different with a strong second half for a 45-30 win.

Lincoln Park led 10-8 after the opening quarter, but Kennedy turned things around for a 19-15 halftime advantage before pulling away in the second half.

The Eagles outscored the hosts 26-15 to ensure the win.

It was a slow start and the Rails were up 6-3 mid first quarter when Olivia McKinney put away two free throws.

Asia Page kept the Eagles close and pulled her team within two early in the second quarter.

With six minutes left in the half Mary Chambers tied things up at 12 after an inbound Lincoln Park pass went straight to the Eagles.

Thirty seconds later, Daija Anderson grabbed a rebound and gave her team its first lead with the ensuing field goal.

Brittany Woods’ free throw made it a 14-13 game but that was the closest the Rails would get.

Anderson gave her team an early 21-15 lead to start the second half and dominated the glass en route to the win.

Anderson finished the half with 11 rebounds.

“We were having trouble rebounding the ball and it’s a bad combination if you can’t rebound the ball and don’t score,” Lincoln Park Coach Shaun Thacker said. “We were giving them so many chances; we give those girls extra chances, they’re gonna score.”

Breanna Early brought the hosts within 10 in the fourth quarter, and a few minutes later Paige Llanes cut the deficit to eight, but points from five different Kennedy players in the last two minutes, gave the Eagles the win.

“We made some adjustments,” Kennedy Coach Jeff Baum said about his team’s second-half play. “We were reaching on their best player (and) we gave her too many opportunities in the first half.

“We talked about not gambling. They relied so much on Paige Llanes for their scoring and we wanted to keep her in front and contain her.”

The Eagles focused more on rebounds and well in the second half and getting out in transition.

“We got some easy buckets and that helped our confidence,” Baum said.

The Rails settled with splitting the season with the Eagles this year and Thacker said he was content with that after his team’s play.

“I thought we played pretty well,” he said. “The outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but I thought we played okay.”

The Rails were led by Llanes with 12 points and five rebounds.

McKinney finished with five points and nine rebounds, Early had four points and Alex Holmes had three points.

Anderson led the Eagles with a double-double of 15 points and 16 rebounds and also had a steal.

Asia Page finished with 10 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal, Chambers had five points, two rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal and Teressa Savastano had four points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals.

The Rails fell to 1-8 on the season, but Thacker is optimistic about the future.

“We’re getting better,” he said. “We’ve got some young girls and we just had trouble scoring there and Kennedy kind of pulled away at the end.

“We’re getting better day by day and we’re trying to incorporate some of the young girls now.”

The Eagles, too are young and Baum said each game is another growth.

“We’re learning,” he said. “We’re still making a lot of young mistakes, but we’re also doing some things better and growing every single game.

“We just want to continue getting better and just kind of skyrocket and build momentum going into the offsesaon and get the kids some experience.”

The Eagles improved to 3-5 in the league with the win and next take on in-city rival Truman.

“We’ve got Truman on Thursday,” Baum said. “We always get up for this so this is nice to get a win.

“There’s no need to even motivate them for that; it’s a tough, intense rivalry.”

The Rails will also be back on the court on Thursday when they travel to Allen Park.

Last Updated: 1/21/2014 10:44:28 PM EST