After the San Luis Obispo High girls basketball team’s 52-46 win over Paso Robles on Friday night, Tigers coach Mike Godsey let his opinion about Hannah Kenny’s play be known.
“I think she’s the Most Valuable Player in the (PAC 7) league,” Godsey said of his 5-foot-11 senior center. “She definitely is for our team — not just physically, but mentally and psychologically. She’s a leader.”
Kenny had a game-high 14 points in the win. Earlier in the week, Kenny — a first-team all-PAC 7 honoree a year ago — personally outscored 6-5 Cal Poly-bound center Molly Schlemer, 24-21, in a 54-37 win over Righetti.
“It’s not like I need to score that many points, as long as I just play my game,” said Kenny, who entered the game leading the PAC 7 in scoring (16.7 points per game) and rebounding (12.1 per game). “Basketball teams always say they’re like a family, but we really are.”
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San Luis Obispo (9-9, 4-1 PAC 7), which has only two seniors, has emerged as a league contender, with its only defeat coming 48-37 at league unbeaten Arroyo Grande on Jan. 8.
“We’re very cautiously proud of how we’ve done so far,” Godsey said.
The Tigers’ early success has even come without Abrianna Torres, who last year won the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award as a sophomore, but chose to focus on track heading into this school year.
“It’s looking really good,” Kenny said of the Tigers’ prospects the rest of the way. “It’s definitely going to be fun to play A.G. here at home.”
San Luis Obispo led 17-10 after the first quarter Friday. Paso Robles (6-10, 0-4 PAC 7) played its way back into the contest from there, doing a better job of fronting Kenny and doubling down on the weak side, trailing 32-26 at halftime and 40-34 after the third quarter.
The Bearcats trimmed the lead to 46-44 on back-to-back baskets by Tristani Harris late in the fourth, but the Tigers closed the game on a 6-2 run.
Malie Guy made all four of her consecutive free-throw attempts in the closing moments to make it a two-possession game in San Luis Obispo’s favor.
“Hats off to San Luis,” Bearcats coach Mike Gray said. “They answered every run we had. It was fun, competitive basketball.”Guy added 12 points for the Tigers, while Olivia Kilgore had nine, Kelsey O’Hagan eight and Kaylee Williams seven.“We didn’t rely on one player,” Godsey said.
Sara Bilderback had a team-high nine points for Paso Robles, while Kellie Reynolds, Amani White and Kati Sheldon all had seven apiece.
The Bearcats hit six 3-pointers as a team. Paso Robles, despite being winless in league play, has shown vast improvement from last season’s four-win mark, as only one of its current defeats has come by more than 10 points.
“We’ve been in every game,” Gray said. “We’ve played hard in every game.”
The PAC 7, Godsey said, “couldn’t be deeper. There’s no easy team to play. There are no lulls. There are no teams we feel are outmatched.”
Gray agreed about the league, which only has two teams with losing overall records.
“It’s very competitive,” Gray said. “We can still finish anywhere from second to last.”