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By Sara Welch | Staff Writer
In a packed house at Marty Hill Court, the Windham Bombers defeated the Warren John F. Kennedy Eagles 67-66 in a rivalry grudge match Friday night to claim the Orwell Division IV Sectional championship, giving Windham head coach Marty Hill his 600th career win.
"It means a lot. We were looking forward to this game all year," Windham senior forward Stephen Kacenski said. "We knew we were going to play them."
In a back-and-forth game in which neither team could gain more than a two-point lead in the last five minutes, the Bombers defense held off the Eagles and sealed their victory.
Kacenski scored the deciding basket with 1:23 left to play. However, just as valuable as that final layup were his two steals at the end of the game that prevented Warren JFK from reclaiming the lead.
Kacenski finished with 16 points and five steals, while Parker Rickey scored a game-high 18 points for Windham. Jared Taylor stole the ball four times, making a crucial grab with 4.3 seconds left on the clock, and finished the night with eight points.
"We came out tonight and made a lot of steals," said Hill. "It'd be nice if we made some foul shots tonight, make it a little less exciting. There was so much pressure on both teams. It's really intense when you go back and forth."
Windham stole the ball 14 times and forced Warren JFK into 22 turnovers. The Bombers also competed on the boards despite a height disadvantage, grabbing 30 rebounds and giving up 34.
This effort was highlighted by Jonah Konzen, who cleared a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds -- eight of those on the offensive end of the floor.
"I don't think too much about the other team," Konzen said. "I just go out and play my game and we play our game. It's called Bomber basketball. That's what we do."
"Jonah played great tonight. It might be the best game he's played all year," said Hill. "He did start for a long time, but for our press we went with Brad (Kowalski). But we knew going into this game Jonah would have to play a lot more, and he stepped up and played. That gave the whole team a break.
Jared was worn out at the end of the game, but we really can't afford to have him out much. I think he only came out for about 30 seconds. Parker is the same way."
James Burney paved the way for Warren JFK on the glass and in the scoring column, completing a double-double with 10 rebounds and 14 points. He was followed by Zachary Usher, who had 12 points and nine rebounds. Both Isaac Carrino and Preston Caparanis scored 10 points for the Eagles.
Going for their fourth district championship in a row, the Bombers will play Cortland Maplewood on Monday at 7 p.m. at Grand Valley High School in a district semifinal game.