Valley News Dispatch Girls Basketball Player of the Year: Plum’s Kennedie Montue

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Saturday, April 3, 2021 | 3:09 PM


Valley News Dispatch Girls Basketball Player of the Year

Kennedie Montue, Plum

5-11, Sr., Forward

In Plum’s season-opening win over Mars, Kennedie Montue scored 29 points.

Two nights later, she scored 30 as the Mustangs nearly upended Upper St. Clair.

Montue then hit for 30 as Plum rolled past Kiski Area.

It was an impressive start to what became a strong final high school season for the newly minted all-time leading scorer in the history of Plum varsity girls basketball.

Montue led the WPIAL in scoring at an average of 23.3 points through a covid-shortened 14 games played and helped the Mustangs go 6-6 in a competitive Section 2-5A. Often facing double or even triple teams, she could drive to the basket or hit a jumper from various points on the court.

A 35-point performance against WPIAL semifinalist Fox Chapel on Feb. 12 put her in the Plum record books. She surpassed the previous all-time record for career points — 1,386 — set by Krista Pietropola in 2014.

Montue, who also averaged more than 10 rebounds a game this season, finished her Plum career with 1,473 points.

“Her talent grew over time as she worked and got better at her game, but her knowledge and understanding of the game in all situations and transferring that to the younger players made a huge impact,” Plum coach Steve Elsier said.

“That helped her grow as a leader, and it helped the team grow too. For the players who are coming up through our program, they’ve looked up to her, and they want to be that level of player. She’s not just the leading scorer in program history, but she has that impact through her work ethic and leading by example.”

Montue tallied a team-best 19 points as Plum topped Lincoln Park in the preliminary round of the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs. The win was the program’s first in the playoffs since 2002 and second ever.

The game ended up being her final one in a Plum uniform as covid issues forced the Mustangs to bow out of the playoffs ahead of a scheduled first-round contest against No. 2 Chartiers Valley.

Montue’s focus now is on training ahead of her June arrival on the Oakland University campus as a member of the Grizzlies’ Division I women’s basketball team.

For her performance again this season, Montue is the Valley News Dispatch Girls Basketball Player of the Year. She took some time to answer a few questions,

How do you feel the season went as a team?

I think the season turned out well, as good as we could’ve hoped considering all of the uncertainties and changes with covid. We played hard every game. Even the ones we lost, we never gave up. Unfortunately, it ended earlier than we had hoped, but I think we played as best as we could.

Were you happy with how you performed in your final high school season?

I played better than I thought I would and my expectations for myself coming in. I was happy to be able to break the school (career scoring) record. That was a goal of mine. I played as hard as I could every game. I just tried to do whatever I could within my game to help my team win.

Despite not being able to play your first-round game against Chartiers Valley because of covid issues, how special was it for the team to bring home the program’s first playoff victory in 19 years with the preliminary round win over Lincoln Park?

It was an amazing feeling, honestly. We started out a little rough in that game, but we stuck together and were able to pull away for the win. I don’t think we’ve ever been happier. We made history that night, and we will always remember that.

You closed in on Plum’s career scoring record rather quickly this year and surpassed it by almost 100 points. How does it feel to be alone at the top of a special and exclusive scoring list?

It feels amazing. Honestly, going into this year, I didn’t know if I was going to set the record because of the less number of games we had. I started the season well, and my chances got better. In the middle of the (Fox Chapel) game, I didn’t know I beat it until they announced it. I needed 28 in the game, and I didn’t think I would get that much.

What was it like to connect with Krista Pietropola about the record?

Krista was an amazing basketball player, and she always said that she knew someone would eventually break her record. She told me after a game at Burrell last year that I would definitely break it. I told her that I would do what I had to do and there were no hard feelings.

How did you see yourself as a role model for younger girls in the district who have looked up to your accomplishments?

It was shocking at times to see that I had that much of an impact. It’s kind of like how I have looked up to some of the top college players I hope to be like some day. To see a lot of the younger kids coming to the games and really getting excited about Plum basketball and cheering for me and for my teammates, that was a really special feeling.

Does the excitement continue to build for your future opportunities on the Oakland University women’s team? What are you doing now to be ready physically and mentally?

I haven’t taken a break (since the end of the season). I train about five days a week. I do group workouts on Sundays, I have personal workouts with my trainer, and then I go to the gym to scrimmage a couple of times a week. The (Oakland) coaches sent out an eight-week strength or conditioning workout schedule I will do before I get to campus. I am more than excited to get started at Oakland and playing at the next level with amazing coaches and teammates. I can’t wait to get up there and have another four years.

With three starters coming back next year and others hoping to increase their roles, how do you feel Plum is set up heading into next season?

I think they are going to keep things going and do a great job. Freshmen Megan (Marston) and Rayla (Smith) really stepping up this year, and other starters Kai (Johnson) and Dannika (Susko) coming back, they are amazing players. I know they will work really hard to be ready for next season.

You have said in the past that you love to watch shows on Netflix. What is one of your go-to show right now and why?

Grey’s Anatomy. I watch that a lot, over and over again. It is so good, and every episode is something new. If there is a sad scene, I cry every time. It’s amazing that it’s been on for so long (16 years) and is still going.

What is your favorite Easter candy?

Spending Easter in Maryland with my dad’s side of the family, my grandmother always had Starburst jelly beans. They are so good.

Did you fill out NCAA Tournament brackets?

Yeah. On the men’s side, my bracket was destroyed. I think I had Michigan winning it. On the women’s side, there were some upsets, but I had UConn all the way.

First team all-stars

Madilyn Boyer

Knoch

5-10, Jr., Guard

Also a first-team all-star selection last year, Boyer helped the Knights reach the WPIAL Class 4A semifinals as she averaged 11.2 points, a team-best 7.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists while shooting 84% from the free-throw line.

Domenica Delaney

Fox Chapel

5-9, Sr., Guard

A third-team all-star last year, Delaney helped the Foxes reach the WPIAL Class 5A quarterfinals. She scored a team-best 11 points in a first-round playoff win over Penn Hills and averaged 12.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.9 steals.

Melaina DeZort

Freeport

5-9, So., Guard

On a young Freeport team, DeZort ascended to the role of go-to scorer. The Yellowjackets went 10-3 overall and 9-1 in Section 1-4A, and DeZort averaged 15.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.0 steals a contest. She shot 82% from the free-throw line.

Nevaeh Ewing

Knoch

5-11, Sr., Guard

A second-team all-star in 2020, Ewing led Knoch in scoring at 13.3 points a game and averaged 4.4 rebounds. She scored a season-best 25 points, hitting seven 3-pointers, in a Jan. 14 victory over Deer Lakes.

Ellie Schwartzman

Fox Chapel

5-11, Sr., F

Through battles in and out of Section 5-2A play and into the playoffs, Schwartzman could be counted on to deliver at both ends of the court. She produced a team-best 13.8 points and 9.5 rebounds a game as the Foxes advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals.

Second team

Morgan Gamble, Apollo-Ridge, 5-8, Sr., G

Reese Hasley, Deer Lakes, 5-6, Jr., G

Allison Fisher, Burrell, 5-9, Jr., G

Nina Shaw, Knoch, 5-4, So., G

Elsie Smith, Fox Chapel, 6-0, So., G/F

Third team

Abbie Johns, Kiski Area, 5-8, Fr., G/F

Kate Myers, Burrell, 5-6, Fr., G

Kalleigh Nerone, Highlands, 5-4, Fr., G

Julie Spinelli, St. Joseph, 5-9, Fr., G-F

Ava Soilis, Freeport, 5-6, So., G

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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