J-D basketball sides start title defenses with wins

Girls shut down ESM; Kinsey leads boys Rams past Mexico

Just a few miles away, J-D's boys took its first steps away from an era that, featuring the likes of Dajuan Coleman and Tyler Cavanaugh, included five straight state Class A final four trips and four consecutive state championships.

Coleman is at Syracuse and Cavanaugh is at Wake Forest, and that's not the only change. Head coach Bob McKenney traded in his suspenders for a red-and-white vest for the opener against Mexico, a game where, like the girls, the boys Rams would defend well.

J-D only surrendered a handful of field goals in the first half, allowing the offense to work through its share of early mistakes, part of which could be attributed to the absence of junior guard Rasheed Baker, who will miss the early part of the season due to a knee injury suffered in football season.

Fellow guard Jafar Kinsey, the J-D player with the most varsity experience, made up for Baker's absence, steadily producing baskets as the Rams worked to a 31-17 halftime lead, and then putting the game away as the Rams outscored the Tigers 16-6 in the third period.

Kinsey produced a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds. Dom Deregis finished with 13 points, while Evan Dourdas managed seven points and Matt King got six points. John Eastman, with 10 points, was the lone Mexico player to score in double figures.

The win came at a big price, though, as Jeff Edwards, a key reserve last season and expected to be a major contributor this winter, broke his foot and could miss the entire season.

Without Edwards or Baker, the competition will really pick up for J-D as it hosts reigning state Class B champion Bishop Ludden Tuesday night before a Friday trip to the Peppino's Classic for its annual clash with Class AA power Henninger. J-D's girls go to Fulton on Wednesday and Mexico on Friday night.

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