Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Player of the Week for Jan. 16, 2023

Monday, January 16, 2023 | 6:44 PM

In 1978, Geibel Catholic won the WPIAL Class A boys basketball championship, beating Shannock Valley, 53-44.

Two years later, the tiny private school in Connellsville won gold again, defeating Fairchance-Georges in the 1980 Class A title game, 73-56.

Some 43 years later, the modern-day Gators, led by senior scoring sensation Jaydis Kennedy, are bringing the chomp back to the Geibel swamp.

The Gators have won four in a row, with Kennedy scoring 101 points in three victories last week.

“The most impressive thing about Jaydis this week was his ability to score 30 points a game along with being a playmaker for his teammates and handing out eight to 10 assists per game with some pretty jaw-dropping passes,” Geibel Catholic coach Don Porter said.

Kennedy scored 29 points in a section victory over California and proved to be a road warrior with 36 points in a section win at Mapletown and another 36 points against Sto-Rox on Sunday in the Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend Classic at Woodland Hills.

“Jaydis has spent a lot of time in the weight room along with countless hours in the gym,” Porter said. “This has enabled him to broaden his ability to get the ball to the rim and finish, along with being able to shoot the three-balls.”

A year ago, the Gators reached the Class A semifinals before losing to eventual champion Bishop Canevin.

The 6-foot-3 guard has become a leader for the Geibel Catholic, on the floor and on the stat sheet. He is one of the leading scorers in the entire WPIAL, averaging nearly 30 points per game.

“At practice, Jaydis is a very hard-working player. He’s very positive and vocal,” Porter said. “He leads by example.”

He’s leading by example on both ends of the floor.

Geibel started the season 2-6 before its current four-game win streak has the team back at .500 overall at 6-6.

Kennedy and his teammates are defensive about their season turnaround.

“We just play defense. It’s all about defense,” Kennedy said. “Our defense didn’t play well at the beginning of the season, but we’ve been pressing, getting steals and sped the game up.”

The up-tempo style seems to fit these Gators.

“We tried it a little bit last year, but it didn’t work out well because we were more of a set offense,” Kennedy said. “This year we are running and doing well at it.”

Kennedy and the Gators are tied for second place with Jefferson-Morgan, one game behind Monessen in Section 2-A. Porter likes where his team is at the midway point of section play.

“As we reach the halfway point, I am very happy where we sit. The team is very aware of what we need to do to accomplish our goal of a section title and a WPIAL championship. Hopefully by us playing some larger schools early on in our schedule we are prepared for the task at hand.”

2022-23 Trib HSSN Players of the Week

Week 1 – Joe Roth, Ellwood City


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