On Friday, the Hercules Titans boys’ basketball team marched into the Coach Dolly Felix Gym and defeated the Kennedy Eagles 70-55. It was the Eagles’ fourth loss in a row, dropping the team to last place in the league.
The game started out promising for the Eagles as swingmen Charles Smith and Kevin Snowden knocked down several three-pointers. By the end of the first quarter, Kennedy held a five-point lead.
But things fell apart for Kennedy in the second quarter when their man-to-man defense gave up 22 points and their fast break offense struggled to score just eight points.
At halftime Kennedy head coach Dewayne Hoskin told his players he liked the way his team made the game “crazy” by running up and down the court, but that they needed to crash the boards and get more rebounds. “Catch, rebound and go up,” he said, as he jumped up and down in the locker room to demonstrate how to grab a rebound and go straight up for two points. “Don’t pass it out. And stay positive for the rest of the game. We’re in this game, y’all.”
But instead of coming out of the locker room fired up and ready to cut into Hercules’ nine point lead, Kennedy came out flat and trailed by as many as 18 points midway through the third quarter.
That’s when Oscar Smith caught fire. With less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Kennedy point guard hit 3 three-pointers and inspired a comeback rally. And with little more than three minutes left in regulation, the Eagles only trailed by six points.
After a mid-court scramble that saw both teams diving and flopping on the floor for a loose ball, Hercules stepped to the line for a late one-and-one. But Kennedy failed to rebound the missed free throw, and Hercules took that opportunity to drain another three pointer. As the scoreboard buzzer went off, Hercules won the game 70-55.
“We came out and played with intensity,” Kennedy guard Lavonte Hill said after the game. “But a loss is a loss and we’re not happy. We’re going to work harder tomorrow.”
Hoskin echoed those sentiments as he addressed his players. “This nasty, ugly feeling after a loss, I hate that,” he said in the locker room as players sat on a bench in front of the whiteboard. “But we got to use that as motivation and not have lazy practices no more.”
Kennedy’s next game is Monday night against De Anza. Tipoff is 7 p.m. at Kennedy High.