HERSHEY, Pa. – Winning for each other. Winning for the Kennedy Catholic family.
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That’s what Thursday’s 65-45 PIAA Class 2A championship game win for the Golden Eagles over Homer-Center was all about.
“Kennedy Catholic truly is a community and a family,” head coach Justin Magestro said. “With all those ingredients, it’s great. It’s just good stuff, man. It’s just good stuff.”
Nothing epitomized the family approaches more than the unselfish ways of the Golden Eagles’ three seniors – Isabella Bianco, Cassie Dancak, and Hayden Keith.
“Our senior leadership has been unbelievable,” Magestro said. “Izzy, Cassie, and Hayden, all of them over the last couple of years have assumed different roles without hesitation. Whatever was best for the team, that is what they did. When you have seniors who lead and sophomores and freshmen that take their direction, those are ingredients for a really good piece of apple pie.”
The seniors have seen it all in their basketball careers – from COVID shutting down a postseason and a potential chance at a PIAA title to PIAA rules curtailing playing time to a heartbreaker of a loss in the championship game a year ago on the same Giant Center court a year ago – it has been a wild four-year ride.
“It means everything to use,” Bianco said. “We worked hard all summer. We never stopped. One week after we lost (last year) we were back in the gym. I think that helped us out. That is why we are here, and that is why we are on the upside of this thing this year.”
Keth said bringing home the gold means a lot.
“It means a lot,” Keth said. “To be able to go back home with the gold this time instead of silver, especially to end it on my senior year with a win is a great feeling.”
Magestro said it is a full team-wide effort, including a deep and experienced coaching staff.
“Coach (Mike) O’Dell works with the big, Coach (Nate) Keith works with the guards, Coach (Conner) Steffans, Coach (Jay) Crumbacher, Coach (Sophie) Berardi,” Magestro said. “We have a coach behind the scenes, Coach (Joe) Lombardi who does a lot of stuff getting us film, etc. We have a team.”