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Kennedy keeps momentum going

OCVARSITY.COM

Kennedy's girls basketball team isn't loaded with blue-chip prospects or transfers.

These are neighborhood girls that have been playing together for a long time, united behind one goal: To win an Empire League championship.

The Fighting Irish clinched the school's first league title with a victory over Western on Friday and they gave their fans a 47-37 victory over Yorba Linda in their final regular-season home game on Tuesday night at Kennedy High.

"I think it feels great because we've never won," Kennedy's senior guard Aikane Higa said. "More school spirit is coming out. Everybody is coming to our games and it feels good with all the support being behind us."

The student section was filled with raucous fans in green and gold paint supporting the Kennedy girls.

"I'm really proud of our girls, especially, because this is my first class that I've seen all the way out," Kennedy coach Roland Preciado said. "We do it with all home-grown community girls and we take pride in that. I get the most out of this bunch. I'm very proud of them."

Kennedy got off to a slow start and Yorba Linda capitalized with a 7-0 run to start the game.

That woke up Higa and the rest of the Fighting Irish, who came storming back. Rachel Cain got a steal and fed Kylie Masumiya for an easy fast break layup to give Kennedy an 8-7 lead with 2:54 left in the opening quarter.

Kennedy wasn't finished. Higa set up Masumiya for a layup, and Michelle Furuya knocked down a 3-pointer to make it a 13-0 run. Kennedy took a 15-8 lead into the second quarter.

Yorba Linda point guard Taylor Schlener led all scores with 14 points. The Mustangs, ranked No. 12 in Division 3AA, dropped to 8-12 overall and 6-5 in league.

In the Century League:

Canyon 62, Villa Park 36: Michelle Ballestero scored 16 points, Lindsay Uyematsu made three 3-pointers and finished with 13 points, and Tyler Prange scored 10 points to help the Comanches (17-8, 7-4) beat the visiting Spartans (10-13, 4-8) to give Canyon coach Matt Dale his 100th victory.

"I have been fortunate to have coached some great and talented kids," Dale said, "and I am so grateful for the opportunity that Canyon has given me."

Contact the writer: carias@ocregister.com


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