The Kennedale Wildcats, off to their most successful start since the 2013-14 season that ended with a 28-2 record, lost in the championship game of the Sanger Invitational Tournament this past week to Aubrey 75-65.
4A Aubrey is 6-1 according to MaxPreps. Aubrey’s lone loss came against 5A Denton (6-2) by a score of 57-44. For the Wildcats, this was their first loss of this still-young season.
Kennedale will return to tournament play this weekend in the Lago Vista HS Tournament, December 8-10. The Wildcats are scheduled to open with 4A Sweeny and 4A Salado in the tournament.
Kennedale’s first district game will not come until December 20 when the Cats take on Hillsboro. This year the Cats are in a new district that includes Hillsboro, Godley, Alvarado, Life Waxahachie, Ferris, and Venus.
Game update: four wins & one loss …
Since the last news article, Kennedale swept 4 teams before the Aubrey loss.
- Mabank W (70-65) – It was a close one for the Wildcats with the Cats fighting for the lead throughout the game. In the 3rd Kennedale started breaking away 41-33, expanding the lead by 13, and then breaking it open in the 4th 61-42. The Cats went on to win the game 70-65.
- Team stats (Kennedale/Mabank): Rebounds 28/22, Assists 10/7, Steals 6/5, Blocks 2/1, FG% 59/28, 3PT% 31/25, FT% 80/80. Mabank is currently listed at 2-4 for the season.
- Grapevine Faith Christian W (70-52) – Faith Christian started with an early 3-pointer and the game remained close for a time, but by Q2, the Cats had the lead 26-18, expanding it to 33-20. After the half, the Cats added to the point total in the 3rd period to make it 45-30. Faith continued the fight, cutting the Cat’s lead to nine in the Q4, 63-52. But, the Wildcats slammed the door shut winning the game, and going away at 70-52. Team Stats (Kennedale/Faith Christian): Rebounds 43/31, Assists 18/12, Steals 13/7, Blocks 1/2, FG% 40/33, 3PT% 22/23, FT% 84/50. Grapevine is currently 11-4.
- Whitesboro W (80-44) – Kennedale established a lead early in this game leading 13-4 in the first quarter. In Q2, it was 32-18. By the 3rd period, it was 62-37, and the Cats went on to win it by 80-44. Team stats (Kennedale/Whitesboro): Rebounds 51/27, Assists 15/6, Steals 11/14, Blocks 0/0, FG% 50/27, 3PT% 33/14, FT% 90/64. Whitesboro is listed at 0-4 for the season.
- Krum W (63-58) – Kennedale took the first lead at 2-0 but it was a hard-fought game between the Bobcats and the Wildcats. In the 2nd, the KCats were up 21-20 and held a 10-point lead of 32-22 before the half. Krum never gave up and late in the game, it was 62-56, as the Bobcats desperately fought back. However, Krum could only score another 2 before the game ended with the Wildcats continuing their win streak with a 62-56 score. Kennedale did have trouble in shooting for the game, hitting just over half of their free throws and hitting less than 10% of their 3-point attempts. Team stats (Kennedale/Krum): Rebounds 35/30, Assists 9/10, Steals 11/9, Blocks 2/0, FG% 45/39, 3PT% 8/20, FT% 58/81. Krum is currently 3-3.
Aubrey L (75-65) – Kennedale led in period one at one point 14-10. In the Q2, Aubrey tied the game at 20-20 before taking the lead 26-21. In the 3rd period, Aubrey stretched the lead to 46-28, shutting down the Kennedale offense. Kennedale did fight back but was unable to close the gap before losing 75-65. Team stats (Kennedale/Aubrey): Rebounds 33/34, Assists 9/19, Steals 7/6, Blocks 1/1, FG% 40/48, 3PT% 40/38, FT% 71/84.
What comes next …
Kennedale has had success early but the schedule has favored this team. Argyle, who always gave Kennedale more than they wanted, is missing since their move up to 5A this season. There is no ranked team so far in the early going. Perhaps the biggest challenge after Aubrey will come with China Springs (8-2) on December 16.
The Cats lack dominating height and they will have to rely on Head Coach Doug Groff’s trademark “disciplined smart ball”. This along with the learning and experience gained from these early games can guarantee another successful basketball season. Added to this is the fact that for a good portion of these years Matt Munson and more recently Matt Casey has been part of the coaching staff for KHS basketball which adds to the continuity of the program from freshmen, JV, and varsity play.
This team does have history on its side …
Last year the Cats were 26-7 and 8-2 in district play. In 19 years as the head coach for the Wildcats, Groff has had only two losing seasons and those two were the only ones to not make the playoffs. The 2004-05 team went 13-16 and the 2008-09 team went 16-15. Note: that season was preceded by two seasons of 30-5 and 33-5 and a state championship.
The 2020-21 team also came close with a 13-13 record. But, it also has to be noted, that 9 of the 16 winning seasons ended with losses in the single digits with the best in 2013-14 at 38-1.