Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Kennedy Girls Rule Passaic

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Kennedy Girls Rule Passaic

Article excerpt

"We are exactly where we expected to be. Granted we expected to have a couple more bodies available. But we're where we wanted to be."

MarQuette Burgess

Kennedy girls basketball coach

WAYNE - MarQuette Burgess wasn't surprised by Latice Cunningham's performance.

The Kennedy girls basketball coach has watched the scrappy senior guard lift the Lady Knights all season, routinely stepping up during Kennedy's injury-plagued season.

So what she did on a big stage Saturday was just another stellar showing in a season of many.

"We're a little undermanned," Burgess said. "But she's done what she's been doing all year, which is lead this team, go out, play, do what we ask her to do. She carried us today."

Cunningham was everywhere for Kennedy, scoring 22 points and coming up with one key defensive play after another to help lift the second-seeded Knights to a 37-26 victory over No. 5 Lakeland in the Passaic County tournament final.

The Lady Knights earned their first county title since 2008.

"It means a lot," said Cunningham, who also had 10 rebounds and six steals. "We're grateful. Even with the team we had, we still came out and we played as one. That's why we won. All the seniors, we're happy we get to go out with a championship instead of leaving with nothing. It's just a great feeling, great experience."

The Lancers enjoyed a remarkable run through the county tournament, which included upsetting top-seeded Eastside in the semifinals.

On Saturday, they fought until the final second.

"I told them back there, obviously they're upset, but I said, 'Girls, keep your heads up because you battled,'" coach Brian Phillips said. "They came out and they made a few more plays than we did. But it wasn't like we were out of it. It wasn't like we gave up."

Kennedy started the second half with a 16-11 lead, but Lakeland went on a quick run to jump ahead. …

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