Defense carries Kennard-Dale girls' basketball team to some impressive wins, 4-0 start

  • The Kennard-Dale girls' basketball team is off to a 4-0 start this season.
  • Wednesday, the Rams routed defending District 3 Class 2-A champion Camp Hill.
  • Over the weekend, K-D downed defending York-Adams Division II champion Susquehannock.

FAWN GROVE — In high school basketball, offense can be a mixed bag at times.

Kennard-Dale's Jaedyn McKeon, left, is fouled by Camp Hill's Sheridan Reid during girls' basketball action at Kennard-Dale High School in Fawn Grove, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. Kennard-Dale would win the game 47-28. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Sometimes, teams and players can’t miss a shot.

Other times, it seems like there’s a lid on the basket.

Defense, however, is a lot less fickle. Effort and determination, two qualities that are completely under the control of the players, are the keys to playing good defense.

Traditionally, teams that are sound defensively find themselves still playing come March.

Already this season, it's become apparent that the Kennard-Dale girls’ basketball team fits that bill.

For the third time already in the first week of the campaign, the Rams (4-0) held an opponent under 30 points, pounding defending District 3 Class 2-A champion Camp Hill 47-28 Wednesday night.

“(Defense) is one of the things that we spend a lot of time on at practice,” coach Aaron Eaton said. “We believe in our defense.”

It was easy to see why. The Rams pestered the Lions throughout, getting hands on passes that led to turnovers and in faces that resulted in missed shots. The Rams also consistently boxed out and grabbed defensive rebounds.

While the K-D girls may not be as well-oiled offensively as they are defensively at this early stage of the season, the defense helped lead to some easy baskets in transition on more than a handful of occasions.

“We take a lot of pride in our defense,” K-D guard Chandler Swanson said. “And one of the things that our coaches push is getting into transition.”

Big win over rival Susquehannock: Eaton, who is in his first year after taking over for legendary coach Bob Rudisill, is certainly pleased with his team’s start, which includes a 53-42 victory over York-Adams League Division II rival Susquehannock last weekend,.

“We had a great opening weekend,” Eaton said. “(Beating Susquehannock) was big for our confidence for sure.”

Beating the Warriors, who won the D-II title a season ago, definitely spiked the confidence and enthusiasm of the K-D girls, who hadn’t tasted much success against their southern York County rival.

“Since I’ve been playing, we’ve never beaten them,” Swanson said. “So doing it last weekend was pretty awesome.”

Looking to get to next level: K-D’s hot start isn’t a shock, considering that all five starters are back a year after advancing to the second round of the PIAA Class 4-A playoffs. Eaton and his team, however, have a goal of taking the next step this year.

“We’ve put some goals out there that are one step further,” Eaton said. “We got to play in the county tournament last year, but we didn’t win a game. We played in districts, but we didn’t win our first game. So we want to take it at least another step there.”

Those goals are down the road. Meanwhile, Eaton already has his team’s mindset in proper order, as evidenced by the team’s motto.

“One of the things that we go by is to just take it day-by-day,” Swanson said. “And our motto is ‘win today’ whether it’s at practice or a game.”

Lexie Kopko led the Rams Wednesday with 18 points while Jaedyn McKeon added 11.

Camp Hill fell to 1-1.

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