Prep Basketball

Cedar Rapids Kennedy boys' basketball snaps 5-game losing skid in win over Jefferson

Jack Wetzel scores 24 points for Kennedy (7-8, 4-6 MVC)

CEDAR RAPIDS — This month has been tough sledding for the Cedar Rapids Kennedy boys’ basketball team.

Winners of just one of six games after winter break and without their leading scorer for the remainder of the season, the Cougars showed plenty of fight Friday night against Cedar Rapids Jefferson.

Sophomore forward Jack Wetzel led Kennedy with 24 points and seven rebounds as the Cougars held off the J-Hawks, 81-77, in a Mississippi Valley Conference game Friday night at Kennedy.

“I thought our energy was great,” Kennedy Coach Jon McKowen said. “We passed the ball, we shared the ball, we had good balance on offense. We were scoring at all levels.”

Kennedy (7-8, 4-6 MVC) drilled 10 3-pointers, three by Wetzel. In a one-point victory Dec. 8 at Jefferson, the Cougars converted just two.

“Our intensity is up, the bench is wild, we all feel happy for each other,” Wetzel said of the long-range success. “It’s a good feeling.”

Kennedy closed the first half with seven of nine points and carried a 38-31 lead into the locker room. Wetzel scored nine points during a 28-16 third quarter that pushed the Kennedy lead to 66-47 after three frames.

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“He gets himself in good spots to be able to score,” McKowen said. “He has a scoring mentality.”

Jefferson (7-8, 4-6) made six of its 17 3-pointers in the final quarter, but got no closer than the final margin. Kyler Bell scored a season-high 28 points for the J-Hawks, while guards Ozzie Meiborg and Wille Guy added 18 and 16, respectively.

Kennedy junior guard Trey Sheets started for the second game in a row and scored 18 points in both contests.

“He stretches the floor,” McKowen said. “He’s a really, really good shooter. He’s developed a little bit of toughness going to the ball right now, too. … He’s a really good, pure shooter and he really rebounds it well.”

Sheets replaced senior Derrick Diggins, who averaged 17.9 points per game but has been suspended for the rest of the season by the school. He remains enrolled.

Kennedy senior point guard Jackson Foley scored 11 points, grabbed six rebounds and distributed six assists.

AT C.R. KENNEDY

Cedar Rapids Kennedy 81, Cedar Rapids Jefferson 77

C.R. JEFFERSON (77): Ozzie Meiborg 6 0-0 18, Kyler Bell 10 0-0 28, Brayden Frazier 0 0-0 0, Raejzuan Shockley 0 0-0 0, Blaze Bouzek 1 0-0 3, Kyran Ligon 3 2-2 8, Willie Guy 6 2-2 16, Jetmir Zeneli 0 0-0 0, Ryan Blum 1 0-0 2, Trenton Kuennen 1 0-0 2, Sam Staley 0 0-0 0, Totals 28 4-4 77.

C.R. KENNEDY (81): Jackson Foley 3 4-6 11, Grant Griffin 2 0-0 5, Zachary Drahos 0 5-6 5, Trey Sheets 5 5-7 18, Tommy Vanek 1 0-0 3, Cole Wirling 0 0-2 0, Jack Wetzel 5 11-12 24, Ben Koester 2 0-0 5, Ethan Sailer 4 0-2 8, Noah Gloede 1 0-0 2, Totals 23 25-35 81.

C.R. Jefferson 18 13 16 30—77

C.R. Kennedy 17 21 28 15—81

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Halftime — Kennedy, 38-31. Three-point goals — Jefferson 17 (Bell 8, Meiborg 6, Guy 2, Bouzek 1), Kennedy 10 (Wetzel 3, Sheets 3, Foley 1, Vanek 1, Koester 1, Griffin 1). Total fouls — Jefferson 19, Kennedy 11. Fouled out — None.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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