Weekly Feature



2018-02-08 / Sports

JFK boys basketball squad swaps two-game skid for two-game streak

Alan Suarez puts up a shot from just outside the key as Tonawanda’s Khristian Velazquez defends during John F. Kennedy’s 57-34 victory Thursday. Suarez finished the game with two points, four rebounds and an assist. Photo by Jason NadolinskiPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Alan Suarez puts up a shot from just outside the key as Tonawanda’s Khristian Velazquez defends during John F. Kennedy’s 57-34 victory Thursday. Suarez finished the game with two points, four rebounds and an assist. Photo by Jason NadolinskiPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com John F. Kennedy’s boys basketball team rediscovered its winning ways last week, halting its two-game losing streak by picking up wins over Alden and Tonawanda to stay two games behind ECIC IV leader Lackawanna with three league contests to play.

JFK started slowly against Alden on Jan. 30, but by the end of the first quarter had a 17-12 lead thanks to the play of seniors Nick Baker, Jacob Braniecki and Jordan Snyder. JFK increased its lead to double digits in the second quarter, but a late run by the Bulldogs narrowed the gap to 31-25 at halftime.

The Bears had a good offensive showing in the third stanza, totaling 21 points for the quarter thanks to a large number of easy opportunities in transition. That momentum would continue in the fourth quarter as JFK went on a 11-2 run to start the frame and build its lead to 63-41 in the process.

Alden his a couple of three pointers late in the game, but it wasn’t enough to prevent JFK from leaving the gym with the 69-53 win.

“We played well in spurts, but I thought we relaxed on a few defensive possessions and gave Alden too many clean looks,” coach Tony Krupski said.

Baker (5 assists, 3 steals) took game scoring honors with 21 points, while Braniecki (17 rebounds) and Snyder (8 rebounds) finished with 17 and 15 points, respectively, as the trio scored 53 of JFK’s 69 points on the day.

“Those three seniors have consistently been our best players all season long,” Krupski said. “We’ve leaned on them and they have continued to step up and be leaders regardless of who the opponent is.”

Against the winless Warriors two days later, the Bears once again got out to a slow start but still managed to hold an 11-7 lead by the end of the frame. JFK did the bulk of its damage in the middle two quarters, outscoring the hosts by a 40-16 margin to take a commanding 51-23 lead after three frames.

JFK’s reserves got a chance to finish out the game, a 57-34 decision, as the Bears coasted to their ninth league win in 11 tries.

“We weren’t sharp out of the gate, but once we started running the floor and everybody was touching the ball, we got into a good flow, played with more energy at both ends, and got a lot of quality scoring chances, especially in the second and third quarters,” Krupski said.

Snyder led the Bears with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Baker added 14 points and four assists.

JFK (11-4, 9-2 ECIC IV) returned to action Tuesday against Holland and Wednesday against Akron, but information about the Bears’ final two home games of the regular season – Wednesday’s game was also their Senior Night – was not available at press time. JFK finishes off its week by traveling to Eden Friday.

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