Ending Hun Girls’ Hoops Career on a High Note, Senior Star Jardine Helps Raiders Surge to 5-3 Mark
BIG FINISH: Hun School girls’ basketball player Kennedy Jardine dribbles around a foe in recent action. Senior guard Jardine ended her Hun career on a high note, tallying 24 points to help the Raiders defeat Princeton Day School 59-26 on March 1 and then adding 19 points a day later as Hun edged Peddie 47-44. The Raiders posted wins in their last four games of the season to end with a final record of 5-3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Kennedy Jardine struggled a bit going through her pregame routine for the Hun School girls’ basketball team as it played at Princeton Day School last week.
“When we were warming up, I wasn’t making a lot of my shots,” said Hun senior guard Jardine, getting used to the surroundings in the new PDS Athletic Center. “We haven’t played here before.”
With Hun trailing 4-3 early in the first quarter, Jardine got fouled on a three-point attempt and sank three straight free throws and started to feel a comfort level.
“That really got me going; we were moving the ball, I was getting really good looks,” said Jardine.
“We were swinging the ball and getting the floor open. Also when I got the ball and I couldn’t shoot the ball, I was able to drive around my opponent and score.”
Jardine started scoring in bunches, tallying 15 points in the first half as Hun jumped out to a 37-18 lead and never looked back the way to a 59-26 win in the March 1 contest.
The Raiders focused on defense as they closed the deal against PDS.
“Our coach [Bill Holup] told us we were going to switch into man because we have a big game coming up against Peddie,” said Jardine, who ended up with 24 points in the win.
“We needed to get some work playing man so we tested that in the third quarter.”
Ending the season with a 47-44 victory over Peddie on March 2 to post its fourth straight win and finish the winter at 5-3, Jardine was proud of how the Raiders progressed in a campaign shortened by COVID-19 concerns.
“I think we have definitely made progress,” said Jardine, who tallied 19 points in the season finale.
“Last year, half of our team were seniors or PGs and they all graduated so we have a lot of new faces and freshmen. I think throughout the season they got more comfortable with the ball and shooting. They have made immense progress this year.”
Jardine bonded with post-graduate forward Kennedy Wilburn, who emerged as a force in the paint for Hun.
“Kennedy has been a great addition to our program, especially having her height,” said the 5’9 Jardine.
“We would have been a really short team without her; I am like the tallest girl on the team besides her. She is really good at driving to the basket. She is really tough when she gets those rebounds.”
In a 67-51 win over Pennington on February 17, Jardine enjoyed a great moment as she passed the 1,000-point milestone in her career.
“My goal has always been to get to 1,000 points and I just got to 1,000 points,” said Jardine.
“That was really crazy. That was really special, getting it on my Senior Night on our home court. It felt really good.”
Even though Hun only played eight games and didn’t get to start practicing in its gym until mid-January, Jardine was still able to hone her game.
“I have really been working on my ball handling, that allows me to drive to the basket and have more moves,” said Jardine.
“I have also been getting a lot more aggressive in terms of going to the basket to get rebounds and following my teammates’ shots. My inside game has gotten much better.”
Next winter, Jardine will be bringing her game to Wesleyan University, having committed to attend the school and play for its Division III women’s basketball program.
“I really want a school with high academics, I plan on majoring in econ,” said Jardine, who considered both D-I and D-III programs.
“The thing that drew me the most to Wesleyan was the coaching staff. I instantly had a connection with coach [Kate] Mullen there. That is important, you are going to be spending your whole four years with the team and the coach.”
Hun head coach Bill Holup is glad to have Jardine sparking his squad.
“Scorers have that mentality, when they get that first shot in they start feeling it,” said Holup.
“It is nice to have somebody like that to rely on. We do have girls who can shoot but they definitely look to Kennedy. When she is on, they know that she can knock it down. It is always good to try to get her hot early, it gets everybody going. Defenses then have to spread out a little more and it opens things up.”
Seeing Jardine achieve 1,000-point milestone was a highlight of the season.
“As we know, some schools didn’t even have a season,” said Holup.
“We made an effort and the school administration was great. It was also nice that she was able to play some games and be able to score her 1,000th point.”
In reflecting on Jardine’s progress over her career, Holup credited her with diversifying her game.
“She started attacking the basket a lot more instead of just relying on the outside shot,” said Holup.
“We know that you are not going to hit it all of the time so you have to expand your game. She has height and she is able to handle the ball. She has really worked on that and her defense. She used to be a little lackadaisical on defense at times. Now she has the mentality, she has got that attitude and that is what you need in terms of playing defense. You have got to want to play defense.”
Dealing with COVID restrictions, Hun’s players showed a great desire collectively to play this winter.
“It is exciting, it had been a long grind because in November and December we were practicing outside,” said Holup.
“I really respect what these girls have done. They obviously have a passion to stick with it and we have managed to have a great season overall.”
Jardine, for her part, stuck through things through thick and thin over the last four years.
“Every year was a completely different season,” said Jardine. “There were some seasons where we had a 6’4 forward and then other times I was the tallest on the team. Every year was a completely different dynamic so it was adjusting to whoever we have on the team and what that meant for me and what I had to do.”