What are the ingredients for a successful high school basketball team? Depth? Experience? Versatility?
For John F. Kennedy, the answer is all of the above.
“I think we have a nice makeup,” coach O’Neil Glenn said. “I think we could be OK if we play smart and play together. We’ll be fine.”
The Knights can be more than fine, but Glenn isn’t distributing tickets to the PSAL Class AA final at Madison Square Garden just yet. In fact, despite Benjamin Banneker’s stunning upset of 13-time defending champion Murry Bergtraum, Glenn still said the title is the Lady Blazers’ to lose.
“I’m sure there are teams out there who feel they win the championship,” Glenn said. “I can’t speak on if it’s up for grabs or not. Until Bergtraum is no longer city champions, you have to say they’re the favorites.”
JFK, though, should be on the short list of strong contenders. The Knights have four returning starters – Leshauna Phinazee, Joyalevern McFarland, Deaisia Acklin and Chelsea Custodio – from a squad that went 19-10 and lost to Bergtraum by three in the semifinals a year ago.
“That should help,” he said.
Glenn also has an even mix of guards and forwards on his 10-player roster, all of whom can play. It allows the coach to mix up his lineup depending on the situation.
“I can do a lot of different things,” he said.
Glenn is also a huge fan of the revamped PSAL ‘AA,’ as the Knights are now in the same division as perennial powerhouses Bergtraum and Francis Lewis.
JFK is off to a solid start, putting up 86 points on Medgar Evers in a season-opening win with four players – McFarland, Amely Del Rosario, Phinazee and Custodio – scoring in double figures.
But just like the Banneker upset of Bergtraum, Glenn isn’t about to get too excited about one November win.
“You’re not winning the championship now,” Glenn said.
No, but John F. Kennedy could have that recipe come March.
Contact Dylan Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org
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