Bishop Kearney found out last year what it’s like to lose by a single point in the diocesan final and didn’t want that feeling again.
It motivated the players to come out strong and put host St. John’s Prep away early en route to a 44–33 win in the Brooklyn-Queens Division II title game on Saturday. The win earns Kearney a bye and a home game in the Catholic Class B city semifinals on March 6 at 6 pm.
“I think that made us a little more focused for this game because we realized that we don’t want to be in a game where one or two plays is going to be the difference,” Tigers coach Rocco Sellitto said of losing last year.
Kearney, which dropped down a league last season, were led by sophomore center Jennifer Kaye, who scored 15 points off the bench in the win. This contest was only her second game back after suffering a stress fracture in her right knee after landing awkwardly on Jan. 11. Kaye’s return helped to lead the Tigers to victory the last two games, including a semifinal upset of rival Fontbonne Hall.
“She’s a warrior,” Sellitto said.
Kaye’s knee is back to normal, she said. She suffered the stress fracture just eight games after returning from stomach surgery, which resulted in her missing the beginning of the season. She is relieved that her injuries are behind her.
“It feels absolutely phenomenal,” Kaye said.
Christina Heyer had nine points for Kearney and Emily Hiltunen chipped in seven. St. John’s Prep senior Carla Marfe scored 23 of her team’s 33 points, while battling through an ankle injury. Kearney’s balanced scoring was key.
“I always tell this team that a lot of teams have two or three main players,” Sellitto said. “We have a team where our bench players come in and we don’t lose that much.”
They certainly gained something valuable in a healthy Kaye.Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewsk