Taking on basketball in fifth grade, Co-Captain Kennedy Herndon ’23 now lies just nine points short of scoring 1,000 points for Andover Girls Basketball. In addition to this achievement, teammates report that Herndon brings a committed and cheerful attitude to their second year leading the team.
Despite the cancellation of their Lower season due to Covid-19, Herndon will be the first player in 30 years to surpass the 1,000 point mark, with the most recent 1,000 point-scorer being Becky Dowling Calder ’94. Herndon looks forward to putting her name in the record books.
“I am very excited to score my one-thousandth point here at PA. It will almost feel like the ending of a chapter once I accomplish the goal because it has been a goal I’ve wanted to accomplish ever since the beginning of ninth grade,” said Herndon.
Other than leading the team with points scored, Herndon is a two-time NEPSAC Class A All-Star, averaging seven rebounds and four assists per game last season. Outside of personal accomplishments, however, Herndon prioritizes creating a team where everyone feels supported.
“I think a positive and enthusiastic environment is the first thing I strive for as a captain because I feel like it helps motivate my teammates to do better,” said Herndon.
Team members believe Herndon reflects their efforts to maintain positivity and kindness. As a vocal captain, Herndon lifts the team’s spirits through their loud cheers, according to Brooke Hannan ’23.
“[They’re] a very friendly person. I think [they bring] everyone joy naturally, like [they don’t] have to try. All [they have] to do really is just be [themself]. Oftentimes, [they make] a lot of noises, and it just makes everybody happy,” said Hannan.
Emerson Buckley ’25 shared a similar sentiment to Hannan, highlighting Herndon’s naturally energetic and playful character.
“Kennedy gets super hype. After a good play, [they’ll] high five you. [They’re] always cheering you on. It’s always great when Kennedy gives you a high-five. It’s a great feeling since [they’re] so good,” said Emerson Buckley.
Through their ball handling skills and strong technique, Herndon serves as a role model for their teammates on the court. Her actions and performance during practice drives the team to put forth its best effort, according to Sophie Dandawa ’25.
“At the start of every drill or warm up at practice, we usually look to the captains to see what [they’re] doing. And when Kennedy’s constantly giving one hundred percent, it pushes us all to be better,” said Dandawa.
Providing guidance and feedback, Herndon creates a team environment conducive to growth. Leading alongside Herndon for the second season, Co-Captain Kiley Buckley ’23 has noticed an increase in confidence on the court because of Herndon’s presence.
“[They’re] a leader on the court during games… After a possession [they’ll] give you a high-five and just things like that. Encouraging on the court. If [they notice] something in a play, [they’ll] point it out to you in a good way and just help you understand and learn the game,” said Kiley Buckley.
Valerie Ha ’24 appreciates Herndon’s genuine and transparent nature. Ha reflected on one of Herndon’s efforts to uplift and form stronger relationships with her teammates.
“Preseason, we would be in the gym together sometimes shooting, and [they’d] text me and ask me when I was going to the gym, and we’d put shots up together. And we play similar positions so I look up to [them] and the way [they play] and the energy [they bring] along with [their] skill,” said Ha.
Herndon is unsure about the future of their basketball career. Although Herndon is a University of California, Berkeley lacrosse commit, they still hope to continue their engagement in basketball.
“If I get physically stronger, a lot stronger than I am now, I may try out for the [University of California, Berkeley’s] women’s basketball team, but just to try out. I don’t think I’ll actually make it, but if I do, it’s a very large time commitment playing two Division I sports at Berkeley. But I would just like to see where it goes. Outside of that, just playing pick up with friends and things like that are how I’ll continue with basketball,” said Herndon.
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