Kenworthy takes it to goal

Boys lacrosse: River Hill's offensive leader, a junior whose numbers were never shabby, is responding to his coach's wish that he shoot more, with winning results.

April 18, 1999|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Sometimes, being unselfish can hurt your team.

That's the case for River Hill's Scott Kenworthy, considered by his coach Jay Bond to be too unselfish.

"He'll give up an open shot to give it to someone with a better shot," Bond said. "We've had to tell him to shoot more."

Kenworthy, twice a first-team All-County attackman, scored 28 goals and assisted on 50 in 15 games in his freshman season. He had 27 goals and 64 assists in 13 games last season.

But for the good of the team, Kenworthy, a junior, is passing less and scoring more this spring. And it's paying off. After seven games, he has 18 goals and 21 assists. River Hill, which was 6-7 a year ago, is 6-1.

"I'm trying to take it to goal more this year so that the defense will slide. In past years, they were reluctant to slide," Kenworthy said. The object is to make defenders leave their men to cut him off, which can open Kenworthy's teammates for passes, as well as create opportunities for him to cut and shoot.

Tactics aside, though, Kenworthy said he is concerned more with wins than statistics.

"Stats don't show ability," he said. "Some games I play better with one goal and two assists than with seven goals and seven assists.

He points to his two-goal, two-assist effort in a 6-5 win over Southern Maryland's St. Mary's Ryken as an example.

"I held, distributed, and shot well that game," he said.

River Hill's team objectives this season are to defeat Mount Hebron and win the county championship. Last season in a 10-9 loss to Mount Hebron, Kenworthy scored twice and had five assists.

Because he's such a dominant player, opposing teams try to double-team Kenworthy a lot, a tactic he offsets with a quick first step and toughness.

"Ordinarily when the double-team comes, I know we can score," he said. "But good double-teams can make it difficult."

Kenworthy is predominantly left-handed, which one might think would provide opponents an effective angle of defense.

Not so.

"I take it right-handed enough that they have to play straight up," he said.

Kenworthy Another method taken by opponents to lower his effectiveness has been to play a physical game against him. "He takes a beating," said coach Bond. "But he keeps getting up. His understanding of the game and maturity allow him to keep his emotions in check. No one has taken him out of his game yet. He leads by example."

Kenworthy, a tri-captain, thinks the physical aspect has decreased with each season.

"I got killed as a freshman, when I was 125 pounds, but now I'm 155. You get used to being hit."

Knowledge of the game is one thing that separates Kenworthy from many players. He has played since he was 6 years old, and his father, John, the team's assistant coach, was a college All-American at Maryland in 1965.

Bond likens Kenworthy to a basketball point guard who controls the offense.

"A lot of things are like basketball," Kenworthy said. "The pick-and-roll, the give-and-go. Coach Bond said he studies basketball games to come up with new lacrosse plays."

Kenworthy is not a basketball player, but he has run cross country, wrestled, and run indoor track to keep in shape for lacrosse.

He carries a 4.0 grade-point average with all higher level courses and likes science and math best. The National Honor Society member is interested in Yale, Georgetown and Johns Hopkins but has yet to take the SAT.

"The bottom line about Scott is consistency," Bond said. "He's a good enough player to do the right thing."

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