There hasn’t been a great deal of success for the Kennard-Dale girls’ basketball program over the past several years.
Ever since Sara Tarbert — who set school records for points, rebounds, steals and assists while leading K-D to the playoffs during her senior season in 2012-13 — graduated, the Rams have failed to qualify for the District 3 postseason.
This year, however, could be a different story.
After going through a number of ups and downs in coach Bob Rudisill’s first season at the helm last year, the Rams have grown a lot since finishing 7-15. A pair of victories at the Big Spring Holiday Tournament, combined with an upset of rival Eastern York, has served notice — K-D is no longer a pushover.
“I think we definitely improved,” said K-D junior Megan Halczuk, who led the Rams in scoring at 10.7 points per game last season. “Last year we started three freshmen and two sophomores, including me, so we were very young. And now, after last year, those freshmen feel more comfortable now as sophomores. They’re starting to play out of their shell and like normal players.”
Getting help: Halczuk is enjoyong the assistance she’s getting now. Last year she was relied upon heavily to lead the squad in scoring. This year, she’s received a great deal of help from teammates Lexie Kopko, Jaedyn McKeon and Chandler Swanson.
Kopko leads the team in scoring at 11.5 points per game, with McKeon (10.8) and Swanson (8.1) doing their part. As a result, Halczuk’s scoring average has taken a bit of a dip this year. She’s averaging 9.4 points per game.
Halczuk certainly isn’t minding the help. In fact she was thrilled, especially after her team won the Big Spring Tournament by beating the hosts in the opener and Carlisle in the championship game. Kopko was named the tournament’s MVP, while Swanson was named to the all-tournament team. Kopko and Swanson each scored 27 points over the two games.
“I was like, ‘Wow … we are 5-2’,” she said. “We all kind of knew then that we had something going for us.”
Eastern upset: Those victories came off the heels of an upset of an Eastern York program that Halczuk has never enjoyed success against. Ever since she started playing travel ball in third grade, Halczuk said Eastern has always had her team’s number.
“That was the first time that I’ve ever been on a team that’s beaten Eastern in basketball in my life,” she said. “Ever. So having that was just an amazing feeling for me.”
While things haven’t gone so great so far this week for the Rams, with a pair of losses to division-leading Susquehannock and York Suburban — a game that was lost on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer — Halczuk and company remain optimistic about the team’s present and future.
Playoffs: K-D is 5-4 overall and 2-3 in the division, but even more important, the Rams occupy the seventh spot — a spot ahead of the Golden Knights and a spot below the Trojans — in the District 3 4-A power ratings. The top 10 teams will make the bracket.
“We know that every single game is going to be a tough game,” she said. “And, like the Suburban game, it can go either way.”
K-D’s next contest is Friday, Jan. 12, when the Rams take on West York (7-4, 4-2) in another big Division II clash.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.