Kennett wins, 58-42, behind Prestianne's 21 points
● By Richard Gaw
On the far wall of the Kennett High School gymnasium, there is a large blue cloth banner that lists the names of every basketball player at the school who has scored more than 1,000 points in his or her Kennett career. Each name forms a story of its own, documents a period in time and celebrates an individual achievement, and at the start of the Kennett-Downingtown West girl's varsity basketball game on Jan. 31, the banner had room for one more name.
At the end of the game, there was no more room. It was time to add “AP” to the list.
With 1:07 left in Kennett's 58-42 victory, senior guard Andrea Prestianne drove the lane and scored what would be her 1,000th and 1,001st points of her four-year career as a Blue Demon. After a brief time out, during which she received hugs from her parents Michael and Maureen and her grandfather, Bob, Prestianne promptly went to the free throw line – she had been fouled during her shot – and cemented her place in Kennett basketball history.
“Andrea has worked very hard to achieve this kind of success, but the nice thing about her is that she's a great leader, she 's skilled and she's given so much effort,” said Kennett head coach Vince Cattano. “She is the entire package, and we've been very fortunate to have her here for four years.”
While the spotlight shone mostly on Prestianne, the contributions from her teammates were not lost in a victory that saw Kennett's record improve to 13-5 overall and 7-1 in the Ches-Mont American Division, sharing first place with West Chester-Rustin.
When Kennett's Ellie Matthews nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key early in the first quarter, it sent out a message that read, “Give Ellie the ball.” It was the first of six three-pointers she connected on in the game, on her way to a 20-point effort, which included three threes in the third quarter. In all, the Blue Demons tallied 10 three-pointers in the game.
“That's what Ellie can do – shoot the ball,” Cattano said. “She's a streaky shooter and once they begin to fall, several more are going to go in. We've got three kids who can score the ball – AP, Ellie and Gina (Lusardi), and Maddy Fowler always seems to pitch in points, as well.”
Prestianne and Fowler also had three-pointers in the first that helped kick Kennett off to a 14-8 lead at the start of the second quarter, and an early three-pointer by Lusardi in the second quarter extended Kennett's lead to nine points. Moments later, Prestianne scored on a spin layup in the lane, then stole a pass and went the length of the floor to help give her team a 25-17 lead at halftime.
The Whippets kept within striking distance of the Blue Demons, mostly on the inside shooting of center Shayla Johnson, who led her team with 16 points, including 7 points in the fourth quarter. With the loss, Downingtown West fell to 3-14 overall and 0-10 in the Ches-Mont American.
“It's been a team effort, and we have surpassed all expectations,” Cattano added. “Coming into the season, so many people thought we were AP's team, and that was it. This may still be her team, but she's had a great cast of supporting characters.”
The Whippets traveled to West Chester East on Feb. 5 and will finish their season at home on Feb. 7 against Downingtown East.
The Blue Demons will face cross-town rival Unionville on Feb. 5, and will conclude their regular season on Feb. 7 at home against Rustin.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org.