One of South Jersey’s premier three-point shooter the last three years, Keyes showed she could score in other ways as well in Tuesday’s game.
Lenape High School senior Kendall Keyes made a name for herself in high school as a dynamic three-point shooter. In her career, Keyes has made more than 150 shots from beyond the arc.
However, Keyes’ game has taken on a different look in 2017–18.
“This year, I got a little bit better at driving,” Keyes said. “Everyone knows me as a three-pointer, so I had to change it up a little bit. I’m not making as many threes, but I’m getting to the basket a lot more.”
Fans at Tuesday’s game between Lenape and Shawnee High School got to see the new addition to Keyes’ game. Keyes scored her 1,000th career point early in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s game on a drive to the hoop and layup.
Tuesday’s milestone game was a big one for Keyes, as she led Lenape with 20 points in the Indians’ 47–38 win. Keyes displayed her full array of talents in the game, dishing the ball off to teammates in the paint early in the game, hitting a couple key three-point shots in the first half and hitting a couple key free throws down the stretch to seal the game.
Keyes’ game wasn’t always so diverse. Keyes played sparingly in her freshman season, scoring 47 points in 13 games. She was hungry for more playing time, but was blocked at the point guard position by 2016 Lenape graduate Amanda McGrogan.
“I needed to become a shooting guard to get on the floor early and not wait until my junior year when Amanda McGrogan graduates,” Keyes said. “I just worked hard at it and it just came to me.”
Keyes worked on perfecting her three-point shot the summer leading up to her sophomore year. All her hard work paid off, as she developed one of the most lethal perimeter shots in South Jersey. Keyes became a key part of the 2016 Group IV state champion Indians. She made 50 three-point shots during the season, including four in the first round of the Tournament of Champions against Old Bridge High School.
As good as reaching 1,000 points was for Keyes, she said winning the state championship with Lenape in 2016 was her favorite memory.
“(Reaching 1,000 points) is awesome, this is incredible, but like I said to the girls before the game, I just want to win,” Keyes said. “ It’s not about points; it’s not about scoring. I just want to win games.”
Keyes made even more three-point shots in 2016–17, sinking 68 of them. She scored 416 points last year alone, leading Lenape in scoring.
This season, Keyes felt she had to diversify her game even more. With teams now guarding her closely at the perimeter, Keyes wanted to add more weapons to make her offensive game more unpredictable.
“This year is when she added the quickness to the basket as well,” Lenape head coach Rob Hummel said. “The three-point shot has been lovely, it’s been great, but her adding more to her game in her senior year has really helped us.”
Keyes has spent more time this season driving to the hoop and either finishing with a layup or drawing a foul. While she is shooting slightly fewer three-point shots this year, Keyes is getting to the foul line more. She has already made 46 free throws this season after making 47 all of last year.
A solid, 25-point game on Jan. 27 against Atlantic City High School set the stage for Keyes to get her 1,000th point at home in one of the biggest games of the regular season against rival Shawnee. Even with her entire family in the stands letting out a loud cheer every time she made a basket, Keyes remained focused on getting her team the win.
“Coach Hummel said to me, ‘this is one game,’” Keyes said. “‘You have 11 games left to score (the 1,000th point), so focus on this game and the 1,000 points will come eventually.’ So I wasn’t too worried about it.”
Keyes was so focused on the game, upon reaching the milestone, she didn’t even celebrate at first. Right after Keyes watched the shot go in, she immediately sprinted down the other end of the court.
“I was thinking, get back on defense,” Keyes said with a laugh. “I thought (Shawnee) was going to throw it in.”
Hummel called timeout to give Keyes a chance to celebrate with her teammates. After the game, Hummel talked about how impressed he was with Keyes’ performance against a tough Shawnee defense.
“I was impressed with the way she just played the game,” he said. “(Shawnee) tried to deny her all over the place and she still had a good game. You have to give her a lot of credit.”
Congratulations to Kendall Keyes, Lenape's newest member of the 1000 Point Club! We are proud of you!!
Keyes will try to lead Lenape to one more deep playoff run this year before graduating. Next year, Keyes will attend University of the Sciences in Philadelphia where she will study pharmacy, play basketball and shoot a lot more three-pointers.
“The team plays the style of basketball I like, they shoot a lot of three balls,” Keyes said. “So I think I’ll fit well in there.”