Boys’ basketball burned out by Bloomington Kennedy

Second-half comeback falls short


Henry Harper

Senior Trevor Piehl dunks the ball during a 73-64 loss to Kennedy Jan. 4. The team’s next game will be away against New Prague Jan. 7.

Maren Wilsey and Jacob Khabie

After a 73-64 loss to Kennedy, senior point guard Will Dvorak said the team was plagued with a  lack of motivation, leading to the team’s defeat.

“They really just played harder than us — they started off harder and just wanted it more,” Dvorak said. “They’re not really better than us. They wanted it more so that’s really (why we) ended up with the result we had.”

Ending the first half trailing 18-26, Park burst into the third quarter with a newfound spirit. After an intense back-and-forth of the lead, Kennedy took over, giving themselves an 11 point lead and bringing their record to 3-1. 

According to senior forward Blake Anderson, the push to tie up the game was fueled by a spike in the team’s motivation, but it was not enough to bring Park over for the win.

“We knew that if we’re going to win this game we had to come out right away from the start of the second half,” Anderson said. “We went on a big run, but then we kind of lost focus and made some mistakes.”

Coach Rob Griffin said Kennedy’s lead from the first half ended up being too great to overcome, despite the team’s burst of effort.

“In the second half we were able to pick it up and gave ourselves a chance to be in a good position,” Griffin said. “But when you’ve got to work twice as hard and battle uphill, a lot of times you end up just running out of gas and running out of time, and that’s kind of what happened today.”

We can’t sleepwalk into wins. We’ve got to come out and expect everybody (to give their) best shot. If we take that approach, I feel like we’ll be okay.

— Rob Griffin

According to Dvorak, the most important thing for the team to work on is cohesiveness and persistence. 

“(We need to) just play more together and communicate on the floor, realize that no team is gonna give us a free win,” Dvorak said. “We need to play together and just stick throughout.”

In the future, Griffin said Park intends to start out with high intensity and energy to set the tone for its games.

“We can’t sleepwalk into wins. We’ve got to come out and expect everybody (to give their) best shot,” Griffin said. “If we take that approach, I feel like we’ll be okay.”

Despite knowing Kennedy’s abilities, Anderson said the key to future success for the team lies in working on the overall quality of the team itself.

“We knew who Kennedy was; we knew they were gonna play hard. We just had to be ourselves,” Anderson said. “If we’re going to be good this year, we have to just focus on ourselves and getting ourselves ready, not worrying about them.”

Griffin said they hope to use this game as a lesson for the next time they face Kennedy later in the season.

“Kennedy is a team we play twice a year, so we’re very familiar with them. They’re familiar with us,” Griffin said. “It’s just about working out the kinks and playing better as a unit.”

Park will next play New Prague at 7 p.m. Jan. 7 at New Prague High School.