HERMITAGE, Pennsylvania (WKBN) – Who knows how far Kennedy Catholic could’ve made it when their run for Hershey was upended in 2020 by the pandemic. The following season, the Golden Eagles advanced to the state quarterfinals. Last year, Kennedy played for the Class A State Championship (against Northumberland Christian). Although, they came short (66-54), the Eagles should be ready to make a similar run in 2023 with their roster.

“We have eleven returning players from the PIAA state runner up team including second-team All-State [selection] Layke Fields,” states coach Justin Magestro. “We have a nice mix of youth and experience. We expect to be deep and balanced. We’ll rely on our seniors – Hayden Keith, Isabella Bianco, Alaina Suhar, Cassie Dancak, Armani Walker (returning from injury) and Princess Ochweri – as well as our sophomores -Layke Fields and Mo Vincent – and freshman Bella Magestro to lead this group on-and-off the court.” Also look for sophomores Lochlyn Shimrack and Madison Pfleger to contribute as well.

Layke Fields is back after leading the team in scoring (11.6) and rebounding (7.8). During Kennedy Catholic’s run through the state tournament, Fields averaged 14.6 points and 8.8 rebounds over that five-game span. She pulled down 19 boards against Farrell back in mid-January.

Seniors Hayden Keith (9.0 ppg), Isabella Bianco (3.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg), Alaina Suhar (3.4 ppf, 4.6 rpg) and Cassie Dancak (4.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg) all return for their final seasons in Hermitage. Sophomore Mo Vincent led the Eagles in free throw shooting (77%) and three-point percentage (36%) as a freshman. She also averaged 7.2 points per game.

Magestro points out, “Our expectations are high as always and these girls understand the responsibility that comes with being a traditional girls basketball power. Like last year, we’ve really beefed up our non-region schedule that includes perennial Pennsylvania powers Norwin (6A), McDowell (6A), Indiana, PA (5A), North Catholic (4A), Blackhawk (4A), Mercyhurst Prep (3A) and a weekend in West Virginia vs. University High (4A) and Morgantown High (4A WV State Runner Up). If we can stay focused, we have a really good chance to get back and make some noise.”

Coach Magestro’s group will begin their trek on Tuesday, December 6 against North Catholic.

Kennedy Catholic Golden Eagles
Fast Facts
Head Coach: Justin Magestro
2021-22 Record: 25-3 (14-0), 1st place in Region 1
2021-22 Post-Season Finish: Won District 10 (A) Title; Lost to Northumberland Christian (66-54) in State Final

2021-22 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 60.6
Scoring Defense: 30.5

2021-22 Individual Leaders
Scoring: Layke Fields – 11.6
Rebounding: Layke Fields – 7.8
Assists: Paris Gilmore – 4.2
Steals: Alayjah Jones – 2.5
Free Throw Percentage: Mo Vincent – 77.1%
Three-Point Percentage: Mo Vincent – 36.2%

2021-22 District 10, Region 1 Standings
Kennedy Catholic – 14-0 (25-3)
West Middlesex – 12-2 (21-4)
Mercer – 9-5 (13-10)
Farrell – 8-5 (13-10)
Reynolds – 6-8 (9-13)
Jamestown – 3-9 (3-19)
Rocky Grove – 2-11 (5-14)
Commodore Perry – 0-14 (0-20)

2022-23 Schedule
Dec. 6 – North Catholic
Dec. 9 – vs. University (WV)
Dec. 10 – vs. Morgantown (WV)
Dec. 15 – at Reynolds
Dec. 19 – Farrell
Dec. 22 – at Norwin
Jan. 3 – at Indiana
Jan. 5 – at Jamestown
Jan. 9 – Lakeview
Jan. 12 – at Commodore Perry
Jan. 14 – Mercyhurst Prep
Jan. 19 – at West Middlesex
Jan. 23 – Mercer
Jan. 24 – at Blackhawk
Jan. 26 – Reynolds
Jan. 30 – at Farrell
Feb. 2 – Jamestown
Feb. 6 – at Lakeview
Feb. 9 – Commodore Perry
Feb. 13 – West Middlesex
Feb. 16 – at Mercer
Feb. 20 – at McDowell