Wednesday night’s California Interscholastic Federation basketball game against eight-seed Branham High of San Jose, as the regional championships kick off, will be no joke. One more Kennedy loss and it’s sayonara, Lady Eagles.
But don’t shrug off the nine-seed Lady Eagles just yet—head coach Rae Jackson wants to keep the charter bus running. “We just want to get on that bus and get down there,” Jackson said before Monday’s practice, explaining how Kennedy will approach the school’s first-ever NorCal game. “We’re going to do what we’ve been doing all year and that’s be us. We’re going to force the pace.”
Jackson said Kennedy’s nine-seed is a direct reflection of how the CIF selection committee perceives them as a team. “We still don’t get no respect” with a 25-6 record, he said. “We’re middle of the pack so they’re like, ‘OK, if they’re real, they’re going to make it out of the pack.’ Then we’ll face Sacred Heart Cathedral [of San Francisco], the number one seed.”
The Lady Eagles lost their last game to Bishop O’Dowd, the sixth best team in the country, by 64 points—the equivalent of more than eight touchdowns. Branham High’s Lady Bruins lost their last game, too, by 14 points.
Lady Eagles’ assistant coach Dough Frazier said he’s not worried about Branham High. “They like to run down [the court] and let each other set up and execute their offense,” he said of the Lady Bruins’ first-gear offense. “It’s not fast pace, pressing or pushing. So I think we have an advantage.”
Both coaches said they’ve seen little film of Banham High’s play, but know they have two players that can give them fits: 5’11” guard Taylor Morway, and 5’7″ forward Regina Sankey. “We’ll try to play our diamond-and-two and take away their two best players,” Jackson said describing their defensive line of action. “We want to see what the other three [Branham players] can do.”