Lady Knights Win State Sectional Title

Sectional finals action
State sectional finals action


PATERSON, NJ – The Kennedy High Lady Knights’ coaches and players have remained rather tight-lipped throughout the playoffs. But there was one goal no one had a problem expressing: we’re here to win a championship.

And that’s what they did with a 51-43 victory over Passaic County Tech on March 4, giving them the Group IV, Section 1 title.

Sign Up for E-News

Tech had made it to the championship game despite a mediocre 12-10 record. So JFK Head Coach Marquette Burgess told his squad not to be complacent:  “Tech’s not here for nothing, so you might as well completely ignore what their record is right now.”

Even though it was a home game for the Lady Knights, Passaic Tech fans were far more prevalent, and a lot louder, throughout the gymnasium.  But that was never enough to throw the Knights off their game.

The first quarter was tight, with plenty of turnovers, and ended with the score tied, 9-9.  Tech looked like the better-oiled machine at this point, but four team fouls and poor shooting from the free throw line held them back from taking the game over.

In the second quarter Kennedy sophomore Erika Brown made her mark. She put forth a very gutsy performance in her first championship game - diving for loose balls and dashing to grab rebounds every chance she got.  Additionally, her shooting was as precise as ever, popping off a pair of consecutive three-pointers toward the end of the half.

Just when it looked like Kennedy was about to pull away, Tech caused a late turnover and miraculously scored a lay up as time expired.

With a 21-16 score at halftime in favor of the Knights, this championship game was still certainly up for grabs.

At the half, Passaic Tech Head Coach Rodney Williams said that “there was no strategy” for his team in the second half.  He told his team to simply “have fun and play the game.  Savor the great experience; just to get here is an accomplishment.” 

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, that was the only thing they would get to savor on this occasion.  The second half saw both teams get even more physical, with players from both sides leveling their opponents with hard fouls.  Additionally, Kennedy’s forwards Kylla Champagne and Morgan Taylor really turned it on in the second half.  Champagne had the game high 16 points, alongside 10 rebounds and four blocked shots.  Morgan Taylor was no less effective, with 14 points, five rebounds, and nine assists.

However, it wasn’t all good news for the Knights.  They made enough miscues on rebounds and loose balls, and gave ball away on traveling calls, allowing PCT to get within striking distance, 34-31 at the end of the third.

In the fourth quarter, Tech closed to within one point several times. But Kennedy’s Tiara Marshall hit a clutch three pointer to swing the momentum to her team.

Just as Erica Brown was about to give the Knight’s some breathing room with a patented drive to the basket, she got drilled to the floor on a very hard foul.  Despite being in obvious pain for the rest of the game, Brown continued to play hard for the rest of the game.  Alisha Brown then sank a lay-up with 1:28 remaining and Kylla Champagne nailed a free throw with just 13 seconds remaining, giving Kennedy its final margin of victory, 51-43.

 When Erika Brown was asked about what she though coming into the game, she simply replied that “I knew it would be close.”  She also added though, “that I knew it would be physical” when asked about some of the hard fouls in the game.  “PCT are intense rivals of ours…I know officially our biggest rival is supposed to be Eastside, but PCT is definitely a tough rival.”

Brown again kept it brief when asked about what it took to bounce back from the injury she sustained late in the game:  “This is a championship game.  I knew I had to suck it up for the team.”

And there was no question that Brown did just that.  Despite not being the leading scorer for the first time in the playoffs, she played a key role  with 11 points and seven rebounds on the evening.  After the big win, Kennedy holds a very impressive 23-5 record for the season.  The Knight’s next game will be against Edison, the Section 2, Group 4 champions on Thursday.  The Eagles defeated Bayonne 68-53 in their championship game.        

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


‘We Must Not Be Enemies’

May 9, 2018

Dear Editor

I want to take opportunity to congratulate Mayor Elect Andre Sayegh on his awesome election night victory and for running a campaign to unite all Patersonians. His message of “One Paterson” resonated with the electorate. I believe that Paterson's best days are ahead. He will govern the city the same way he campaigned, always putting Paterson and ...

Coughlin Appoints Wimberly New Assembly Housing Committee Chair

May 21, 2018

TRENTON, NJ – Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin has named Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly as the new Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee chairman.

Wimberly will oversee the key committee responsible for addressing statewide concerns including affordable housing, residential construction and various legislation improving New Jersey communities.

He will assume chairmanship of ...

Adopt A Pet

This little cutie is the last “good” reminder of a bitter winter. The family, mom included, were rescued during a nasty blizzard. They adapted quickly to being safe inside and are now ready to find their new homes and their new families. Hailey is quite the player and is all about kitten energy. Born in late February of 2018, this beautiful grey and white girl enjoys wrestling with ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.


Q. When did you join

I joined in September, ...

Passaic County CASA Recognizes Volunteer Child Advocates at Annual Event

May 11, 2018

WAYNE, NJ- More than 50 staff members, volunteers, and board members from Passaic County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) celebrated the impact of CASA volunteers at the organization's Volunteer Appreciation Brunch on April 28, 2018, at Laurelwood Arboretum in Wayne. This annual event recognizes Passaic County CASA volunteer advocates and the difference they make in the lives of ...

Local Advocates Join Statewide Call for Restoration of Affordable Housing Funds

May 21, 2018

PATERSON, NJ- The leaders of several local organizations including Paterson Habitat for Humanity, Saint Paul’s Community Development Corporation, the Paterson Housing Authority, and the City of Paterson’s Neighborhood Assistance Office lent their signatures to a letter urging Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature to preserve a fund dedicated to creation of affordable ...

PayPal CEO says Rutgers grads need to "Help Repair the World"

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal, called on the Class of 2018 to take a stand for social justice as they graduate during a time of unprecedented technological and social change.

He talked about the decision at PayPal to rescind plans to build a global operations center in North Carolina following legislation many considered discriminatory against the ...

The Elections are Over, Now it's Time to Collaborate!

May 21, 2018

For much of the past six months Paterson’s focus has been on the races for mayor and council, and rightly so. The elected officials that serve the nearly 150,000 residents of our city have an enormous responsibility, their actions dictating not just success of our community, but the way our City is perceived.

The election is now behind us, and we congratulate all who took part in the ...