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Boys Basketball: Washington Beats Kennedy For Third Time

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa Add a postseason win to the improbable list of things the Cedar Rapids Washington Warriors have now accomplished this basketball season.

"Like I just told them in the locker room, 'You continue to believe in one another and believe in me after an 0-21 season and winning one game out of 15 in the beginning of this season,'" said coach Adam Sanchez, after his team's 48-42 win over Cedar Rapids Kennedy in a Class 4A substate opener last night at Kennedy. "They came to work every day. I know everybody says that, but these kids really did. We never had issues with players all season long. They have just continued to fight together, believe together ... They just want to keep on playing basketball."

They will, quite miraculously. Washington (7-15) advances to play at Western Dubuque (21-0) on Friday night.

As Sanchez alluded, the Warriors went zero for last season and were 1-14 this season until reeling off five wins in a row down the stretch. They lost their regular-season finale to Dubuque Senior last Thursday but played 4A's third-ranked team to an eight-point game.

This was Wash's third win this season against Kennedy (11-10), and it never trailed.

"Not a better feeling," said guard Brock Butterfield. "After that first win, our confidence grew. The second win, our confidence grew. It just kept going up with each win. Even though they say it's hard to beat a team three times, we still had confidence we could."

Washington scored the first six points, led at halftime by six and by five after three quarters. An eight-point lead with 2:40 got whittled to two, 44-42, on a Johnathon Koelling trey with a minute left, but the Warriors held on.

That's despite missing 15 free throws in the second half.

"We had to make it interesting," smiled Butterfield. "We had to."

"We thought we had a great game plan, but I'm going to tell it like it is," said Kennedy coach Bob Fontana. "We had guys that didn't follow it, especially early in the game. We had some guys that were either too geeked up or they were not focused on what needed to be done ... We settled for jump shots, and they attacked the basket. What we were supposed to do, they did."

Austin Bergstrom led a balanced Washington attack with 11 points, with Heath Clark adding eight off the bench. Koelling's 15 led Kennedy, which lost seven of its last nine games.

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