Stevens’ Tania Kennedy is a star on the rise

Junior emerges as one
of GMC

Staff Writer

Junior emerges as one
of GMC’s top players
Staff Writer

EDISON — J.P. Stevens High School junior guard Tania Kennedy has solidified her place among the Greater Middlesex Conference’s elite basketball players.

In her third year at the varsity level, Kennedy averaged more than 15 points per game to help lead the team to its first NJSIAA sectional title in school history.

Her last-second heroics enabled the Hawks to defend their GMC Tournament title in a 44-42 win over Old Bridge. A prolific scorer with a knack for stepping up her game at critical moments, Kennedy seems to save her best for when titles are on the line.

In a 41-39 win over Union Catholic Regional High School, Kennedy hit the winner and her team went on to win the Elizabeth Christmas Tournament.

"She always came through for us in the clutch," Stevens head coach Andy Eng said. "Even if she wasn’t having a big offensive game, she was a great contributor without being a scorer."

The only problem for opponents was the fact that Kennedy rarely had an offensive slump. In the GMC championship game she posted 23 points, including the game winner.

When the sectional title was on the line against Columbia High School, Kennedy recorded a season-high 31 points.

In addition to having 10 games in which she scored 20 or more points, Kennedy also collected 84 steals on the season and became the school’s all-time leader in assists with 269. She is currently fifth among the school’s all-time leading scorers.

"Tania will most likely end her career as the school’s second leading scorer," Eng said. "She needs around 500 to take the top spot next year. Certainly a big task, but you never know."

Next season, Kennedy will be without backcourt mates Stephanie Marciano and Ayana Way. Way and Marciano light up the scoreboard, and without their presence, Kennedy will be asked to carry a heavier load. She will certainly be a marked woman, as there isn’t a team in the county that will not make her the focal point of their defensive attack. Her work ethic and dedication should combat opposing strategies.

"Tania has a tremendous attitude and work ethic," Eng said. "Her consistent performance in the big games is something that separates her from the good players. She is really something special."

The 5-foot-5 guard has certainly come along way under the tutelage of coach Eng and teammates Marciano and Way.

"I first met her when she was in seventh grade," Eng said. "At that time, her vision of the floor was exceptional but her skills were questionable. Through hard work, she has gotten better and better. She is now one of the top players in the county and the GMC Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player."