Kenwood girls basketball team advance to the city’s final four for the first time in school history

Kenwood Academy High School Junior Jonaie Johnson scores two points against Harlan High School, last Saturday, during the Chicago Public League semifinal girls’ basketball game at Chicago State University where they defeated Harlan 69-57. This was the first time in school history that the team advanced to a city championship game. – Owen M. Lawson III

By JOSEPH PHILLIPS
Sports Writer

For the first time in school history, the Kenwood Academy Lady Broncos
Basketball Team advanced to the Final Four of the Chicago Public
League City Playoffs after a 57-54 win over the Morgan Park High School Lady Mustangs on Tuesday, Jan. 30.

“Thus far I am very proud of this team in terms of our growth and depth in the program,” said Kenwood Coach Andre Lewis, about his team’s historic accomplishment. “To have [both] the varsity team and the sophomore team to compete for a city championship, it speaks to our overall growth as a program.”

In the first half, the Lady Broncos led by the hot shooting of senior guard #24 Jonaie Johnson, who exploded for 10 first-half points, earning her team a 34-28 lead over the Lady Mustangs at halftime.

In addition to Johnson’s first-half double-digit scoring performance, the all-city guard will also shatter another Kenwood basketball record by becoming the first woman player in school history to record 1,000 points and 500 rebounds for her career. Johnson was honored during a halftime ceremony and was rewarded with a trophy glass case basketball marking her career milestones. During halftime, Johnson announced her commitment to play at Division I, University of Missouri Kansas City, in fall 2018.

In the second half, the Broncos and Mustangs competed down to the wire. With 33 seconds remaining in the game, short in stature and explosive scoring point guard #1 Shania Jackson of Kenwood, made one of her biggest plays of career (and possibly Kenwood girl’s basketball history) after stealing the ball from Morgan Park at half court finishing with a clean layup off the glass, earning her team, its first ever Final four trip school history.

Final Score: Kenwood 57, Morgan Park 54

With the victory, the Broncos advanced to the Chicago Public League
semifinals for the first time in school history and played at Chicago State University against Harlan High School (where Lewis’ coaching career began) winning 69-57, on Friday, Feb. 2.

The victory also earned the Lady Broncos another first, marking the first time in school history, a lady’s team advanced to a city champion game to play Simeon Career Academy on Sunday, Feb. 4. 

Although the Lady Broncos fell short in the city championship game 75-72 against the Lady Wolverines, this historical season was one to remember. As the team finished with an 8-1-conference record and 24-5 record overall. Following the city playoffs, the Lady Broncos advanced to the second round of the state playoffs after earning a 52-43 victory over Saint Ignatius College Prep on Wednesday Feb. 6.

Hyde Park Herald Players of The Game: Shania Jackson (Kenwood), 17 points, 3 steals, including a game-winning steal to clinch the schools first ever Final Four appearance in girls basketball history. Tamara Nard, (Kenwood) 15 points, 12 rebounds, 6 blocks, Jonaie Johnson, (Kenwood) entered school record books by becoming the first woman in Kenwood girls basketball history to record 1,000 points and 500 rebounds. Johnson finished the game with 13 points and 8 rebounds.