With Junior Jardine Diversifying Her Game, Hun Girls’ Hoops Gets on Winning Streak
DRIVING AHEAD: Hun School girls’ basketball player Kennedy Jardine heads to the hoop in recent action. Last Saturday, junior guard Jardine tallied 19 points and had six rebounds as Hun defeated Hopewell Valley 50-40. The Raiders, who defeated Nottingham 58-8 last Monday to post their fourth straight win and improve to 9-4, play at Peddie on January 22 and at Lawrenceville on January 25. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Over her first two seasons with the Hun School girls’ basketball team, Kennedy Jardine proved to be a scoring threat from the perimeter with her long-range shooting prowess.
This winter, the 5’10 guard has been looking to diversify her game. “I definitely worked on that over the summer, driving to the basket and being more aggressive,” said Jardine. “I am also going for more offensive rebounds.”
Last Saturday, Jardine demonstrated that aggressiveness, scoring 10 points the first quarter and ending up with 19 on the game as Hun pulled away to a 50-40 victory and its third straight win.
“In the past couple games I haven’t been hot; in the Blair game I was out for more than half the game because I got hurt,” said Jardine.
“I only got eight points. In the next game I only got 10 points. I needed to step it up. I was doing shooting before the game.”
Jardine’s points on Saturday came in the flow of the offense as Hun displayed some sharp passing against the Bulldogs.
“We were moving the ball around a lot which is something we have been working on,” said Jardine, who also contributed six rebounds, three steals, and two assists in the win over HoVal.
“We were moving to get open, doing more backdoor cuts and incorporating that into our plays more.”
The Raiders also moved well at the defensive end, holding HoVal to two points in the second quarter as they built a 27-17 halftime lead.
“Our coach was telling us to make sure that we stay low because sometimes on defense we start to come back up with our hands,” said Jardine.
“We just stayed down low and kept our knees bent.We were sliding with them so they weren’t getting past us.”
In the second half, Hun held off a rally by Bulldogs who tied the game at 29-29 late in the third quarter before Jardine made a bucket and Hun never trailed again.
“Coming out of halftime, we were really motivated,” said Jardine, who serves as a team captain along with classmate Isabelle Lalo.
“Our defense was great again. We had the bench players helping us out more. When your team is all into the game, the energy rises and you are motivated. The fans in the crowd were cheering us on. We were really determined to keep our winning streak going.”
The return of senior guard Enya Maguire from injury has helped energize Hun.
“Enya is back; we have been practicing with her and getting used to playing with each other,” said Jardine. “Her passes are insane, she has really clear vision of the court. She is a great point guard.”
Hun head coach Bill Holup liked the way his team played as it earned the win.
“It was a good, hard-fought game, playing the CVC schools, we know they are always scrappy,” said Holup.
“Everyone has the potential to step up and they all wanted to win. They were all making the plays when it really counted, whether they were loose balls, getting them on the floor, and rebounding. We did a much better job down the stretch making sure that Hopewell didn’t get the lead there.”
Jardine’s early outburst gave Hun a lift. “That really sets a tone for us making those shots early in the game so when you have a little bit of a slump sometime else in the game, they have the mentality, and Kennedy does, that she is a shooter,” said Holup.
“She is attacking the basket more and is crashing the offensive boards. That opens up the game a lot more too instead of limiting herself like she had in past years.”
The presence of Maguire helps open things up for the Hun offense. “She really brings it up a whole other notch; we are much better in transition with her on the court,” said Holup of Maguire who had 11 points, four assists, and four steals against the Bulldogs.
“She has that ability to make her teammates better when they see her, one of the top players, pushing herself and trying to get the ball to open players and looking for shots.”
In Holup’s view, the win over HoVal could be a harbinger of good things to come for his squad.
“It is just keep playing well, that is what it comes down to,” said Holup, whose team defeated Nottingham 58-8 last Monday to improve to 9-4 and plays at Peddie on January 22 and at Lawrenceville on January 25.
“We have the physical skills but we need to keep making sure that we are mentally in the game and not taking anybody for granted. Hopewell can play and they pushed us.”
Jardine, for her part, believes that sharing the ball is a key to success for Hun.
“We need to focus on moving the ball more instead of just taking the first or second shots,” said Jardine. “Once we really get the ball moving around, we get a clear shot.”