Zielinski leads Kennedy boys past WCA

The Kennedy boys basketball team had to avoid looking ahead to Tuesday’s home showdown against undefeated Naugatuck (12-0).

Kennedy had won seven straight games entering Monday night’s game at WCA, a young but talented bunch that finally had a full lineup for the first time all season. The Spartans pose challenges with several players who can put the ball in the basket, but so do the Eagles. One of those players is senior Dayven Zielinski, who fired in 26 points (19 in the second and third quarters combined) to lead Kennedy to a 78-62 victory.

Zielinski can be deadly from 3-point range, and he can play above the rim as well. Zielinski helped turn a six-point halftime advantage into a 16-point bulge by the time the third quarter ended. Kennedy’s balance is also tough to deal with, whether it’s the driving ability of Zielinski and fellow seniors Manny Beamon and Synciere Alves, the midrange shooting of junior Lennox Serrano, and the rebounding prowess of undersized senior forward Chauncey Hicks. Serrano had 14 points and was strong on the backboards as usual. Serrano. Alves followed Serrano with 10 points while Hicks added nine. Sophomore Hikim Trueheart tallied nine points and played a spectacular all-around game.

While Kennedy was able to put up plenty of points, it was the defense on WCA junior Jason Canady in the second half that made a major difference. Canady, a guard with a silky-smooth, left-handed shot, tallied 21 points in the first half for the Spartans, who trailed, 39-33. The Eagles held Canady to seven points in the second half as they pulled away from the home team. Sophomore Andrew Williams had a terrific offensive game for WCA with 17 points, but he was the only Spartan other than Canady to hit double figures.

Kennedy improved to 9-1 while WCA fell to 7-5. The Eagles host Naugatuck tonight with the tipoff scheduled for 7 o’clock. The game will be streamed in the Kennedy High School YouTube channel.

The Spartans are right back at it tonight at 6:45 at Woodland. WCA is at Kennedy on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Photo caption: Dayven Zielinski helped make sure Kennedy avoided a loss to WCA on Monday before its showdown with undefeated Naugatuck tonight. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, file)