BARDONIA — When you’re without your top defender and you’re facing one of the best teams in the section, things are probably not going to go your way.
Kennedy learned that lesson the hard way.
Lourdes took advantage of a flat-footed first-quarter effort by Kennedy, and used the lead to carry it through the rest of the game for a 62-56 win in the opening round of the Richard McNichol Turkey Tip-Off tournament at Albertus Magnus Friday.
The Warriors jumped out to an early 19-4 lead over a team that featured one of the best defenses in the section a year ago. The Gaels, however, were without junior Megan Weidenheimer, who tore her left ACL in May playing lacrosse.
“We’re trying to find ourselves; and I need to find a reason why, three games now, we start off (slowly) and then we finish (strong),” Gaels coach Lance DeMarzo said. “Against a good Lourdes team, you can’t spot them 14 points and hope to come back on that.”
DeMarzo said he expects Weidenheimer to be cleared in early to mid-December, with a return to the court in late January. The junior, whose main sport is basketball, said the injury has been a “learning experience” for her.
“Don’t take any game or practice for granted, because you never know when it could be your last,” Weidenheimer said. “It also helps because I can share insight with my teammates, but it also stinks because I just want to jump out there and go and help my team.”
Southern Connecticut State-bound Paige Decker did the majority of the damage in the first quarter, scoring nine points (all on 3-pointers), while adding three steals. Seniors Keira Hennessy and Leah Greene (pictured above right) led the Gaels’ offense, scoring 16 points apiece.
Kennedy pulled within four points on two separate occasions late in the fourth quarter. Senior Kaitlyn Knox (pictured left) had a chance to complete a four-point play that would have pulled the Gaels to within three with less than two minutes left in regulation.
The Gaels (2-1) will play Maria Regina in Saturday’s consolation game at 1 p.m., while Lourdes takes on host Albertus Magnus in the championship at 3 p.m.
All photos taken by John Meore for The Journal News. View John’s entire 19-photo gallery here.