Behind a standout performance from 4-star guard Lynette Johnson, Kennedy-Sacramento easily moved past McClatchy 57-41. The Cougars remain just a game behind Sacramento in the Metro League with five games left.
Johnson, signed to Utah State, finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds as the clear top player on the court. Kennedy got out to a 10-0 start and led by double digits most of the night en route to the 16 point win. The Cougars also beat McClatchy 51-43 on January 7.
The No. 7 ranked prospect in the region for 2013 went 9-for-16 from the field in scoring her game high 24 points while not having to dominate the ball and getting teammates good looks. She showed off her deep shooting range in knocking down four 3s, was able to work on the block or off cuts and had a nice crossover to set up a mid-range make. With McClatchy making a third quarter run to trim Kennedy's lead to 34-26, Johnson had a three from the top of the floor and a hard cut inside for a layup on back-to-back plays to halt the comeback attempt.
6-foot-2 senior post Dalayna Tyler-Scott provides size for Kennedy and finished with 10 points in the win. She battled foul trouble much of the night and needs to play with better strength to be a force on both ends of the floor. If she can provide consistent play the rest of the way, Kennedy could be a dark horse to reach the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I finals.
While Kennedy was solid on defense, it was the offense that stood out on Tuesday. Kennedy does a really good job of spacing the floor, getting good player movement and having multiple players who can make the extra pass or knock down jumpers. The Cougars had nine made three pointers in the win, including three makes from junior guard Jessica Lauderdale. They didn't see much ball pressure from McClatchy and were able to get in a good offensive flow.
""We really wanted to try and get the ball on the inside and try to get them to foul us, which worked out pretty well in the second half," Kennedy head coach Dave Parsh said. "We got a lot of points in the paint and it opened up the perimeter shooting."
Freshman forward Gigi Garcia (6-foot-2) had a team high 11 points and seven rebounds for the Lions. She can handle it well for a player her size in also getting good position on the block before receiving the ball. She is a physical inside and can cause some matchup problems, but needs to refine her offensive game. She went 3-for-14 from the field and 5-for-8 from the line.
Fellow underclassman Destiny Lee (6-foot-2) finished with six points in showing some promise as a 6-foot-2 2015 post. She had a good seal for an early bucket and a hook shot over her right shoulder. She was able to fight for position, but struggled to hold her ground and when she got in a crowd. McClatchy looked to establish an inside presence, but Kennedy did a nice job of containing it as a key part of the game.
"We match up with them pretty well. We tried to do a few things as the post players caught the ball," Parsh said. "For the most part, we did a pretty good of that."
Outside of some good early shooting from beyond the arc, McClatchy struggled to put made buckets together in going a collective 14-for-47. Without the personnel to cause mismatches, McClatchy ended with its second lowest scoring output of the year. The Lions scored 36 points in a loss to Sacramento last week.