Prep Basketball

Cedar Rapids Kennedy makes case for best Metro boys' basketball team

Cougars complete sweep of Cedar Rapids Washington, 65-51

CEDAR RAPIDS — The best boys’ basketball team in the Metro.

It’s got to be Cedar Rapids Kennedy at this point, right? The streaking Cougars won their fifth in a row Friday night, beating Cedar Rapids Washington for the second time this season, 65-51, on the northeast side.

Parity has reigned in town for the most part in 2020-21. There has been no dominant team, none of the seven schools ranked in the state.

Kennedy (9-6) has been beaten by Marion and Cedar Rapids Prairie. But the way this team seems to be putting things together is impressive.

“It means a lot to the kids. Absolutely it does,” said Kennedy Coach Jon McKowen. “They grew up with these guys. The way we are set up, they went to middle school with a lot of them. So it’s a fun rivalry, it means something, it’s very emotional, and we play a lot of Metro games. So, yeah, I guess if it means something to the kids, it means something to me. We try and look at the bigger picture, and try to be a factor in the state and not just the city. But it has to start with the city.”

Kennedy’s aggressive defense took Washington (9-7) out of its offense a lot, forced turnovers and led to a 38-28 lead. The Cougars built a 55-40 edge after three quarters.

Sophomore guard Colby Dolphin had a game-high 19 points, including 15 in the first half. Forward Caleb Schlaak added 18.

“We were pretty solid tonight,” Dolphin said. “We took care of the ball, played really good defense, pressured them a lot. At the start of the year, we didn’t really know what our identity would be. We kind of started pressing up and found out our identity is press up on defense and pressuring the ball.”

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“With our press, we get more possessions than we give up baskets,” McKowen said. “It took them out of their sets. They run a lot of sets right now, and they didn’t run too many tonight. We just kind of got down and got into their motion. That was the key defensively.”

Quincy Underwood had 13 points for Washington, which has been very good this season after winning just four times last season. Kennedy won the first game between these two in middle December, 63-48.

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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