Kennedy pulls upset, off to state for first time since 2008

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Ethan Divis

Before the season started, the amount of people that would have picked Kennedy to go to state would have been slim.

With good reason too, Kennedy finished last season at 11-10, losing to inner city rival Washington in a substate semifinal game. Then their coach left and this team appeared to be left out to dry.

But, after a 46-43 upset over fourth ranked North Scott, Kennedy proved all the doubters wrong and advanced to its first state tournament since 2008.

“No one gave us a shot to even get to state or even get to the substate final,” Senior guard A.J. Carter said. “We just have a coach that believes in us and we believe in our coach.”

Kennedy were considered the underdog going into this MVC/MAC showdown, but they weren’t thinking like one.

“We we’re only underdogs in other people’s minds,” Head Coach Jon McKowen said. “We don’t even go into a game feeling like we’re the underdog. You got a chance because you believe.”

It was a back and forth affair throughout the game. Kennedy narrowly took an 17-16 lead into halftime after Cole Murdock jr., hit a three at the buzzer. Kennedy connected on four triples in that quarter.

But, North Scott went on a run in the third quarter took an eight point lead with 4:09 left in the third.

Then the Cougars got tough.

Kennedy went on a 13-0 run, capped off by a huge play from Zach Daniels jr., who stripped a Lancers pass and pulled up from range to give Kennedy the lead.

“I was feeling it in warm-ups and throughout the game I was feeling it, so I knew I could hit that one,” Daniels said.

Kennedy played with the lead for most of the fourth quarter but North Scott wouldn’t go away. Kennedy left some chances on the table due to poor free throw shooting.

North Scott had a chance to tie it up with a three at the buzzer but their three point attempt fell short, and the Cougars pulled the upset and now they have their sights set on ‘the well’.

“We’re not going to be a team that’s going to be overlooked anymore,” Daniels said. “We’re not going to be there for one game, we’re going to give it our all,”

Kennedy squares off with Sioux City North this Wednesday night at 8:15 p.m.