Best of Divine Child's Blairs May Be Last as Kennedy Paces Hopeful Falcons
By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com
January 12, 2023
DEARBORN – The Blair family’s presence within Dearborn Divine Child athletics – and most significantly in basketball – has stretched more than a decade as youngest-of-five-siblings Kennedy Blair takes the court for the last of her four seasons on the Falcons’ varsity.
There was Morgan, who was on Divine Child’s 2011 Class B championship team and went on to a college career at Northern Kentucky and Hillsdale.
Next was Riley, Kennedy’s other older sister who played at Divine Child and Ferris State.
Kennedy’s two older brothers, Quinn and Gannon, also played basketball at Divine Child, with Quinn going on to play in college at William & Mary.
“Being able to watch them play, it helped me grow my IQ,” Kennedy said. “They definitely are huge role models to me.”
Given how all five Blairs loved basketball, one can only imagine the battles that took place on the family’s backyard court.
“We always fought because we are so competitive,” Kennedy said with a laugh. “We play occasionally, and it never turns out well.”
Now a senior at Divine Child, Kennedy, a 5-foot-9 point guard, is not only the last of the siblings to star at Divine Child, but she also might be the best.
Blair is one of the most talented basketball players in the state, coming off a 2021-22 season during which she was named first-team all-state in Division 1 after averaging more than 20 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals per game.
There’s been no letup or seniorities this year, as going into Tuesday’s game against Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard, Blair was averaging 20 points, nine rebounds, six assists and four steals a contest for a Divine Child team that will take a 9-2 record into a Friday game at traditional state and Catholic League powerhouse Bloomfield Hills Marian.
“You know you have a pretty special player because it’s so impressive to lead in essentially every statistical category for all four years,” said Divine Child head coach Mary Laney, who is in her 19th season at the helm of the program.
Laney said Blair has been even better this year thanks in large part to an increased emphasis in two areas.
One was strength and conditioning over the offseason.
“She’s really gotten even stronger,” Laney said. “She put forth a great deal of effort — more so than in previous offseasons — in regards to strength and conditioning. She came into this season in better condition and stronger than during any other season. That’s helped her game.”
The other was continuing to evolve into just as big of a force on defense as she is on offense.
“She’s really long and always could get a lot of deflections,” Laney said. “Those are now turning into steals. She rebounds the ball really well.”
As was the case with Morgan, Riley and Quinn, Kennedy won’t be done with basketball after high school, as she has signed to play for Bowling Green.
“It was the best fit for me,” Kennedy said. “They know where I’m going to fit in the offense and recruited me really strictly. They knew everything about me and made sure to take their time following everything I do, which I appreciate as a player.”
Before worrying about college basketball though, Kennedy wants to become the second player in the family to have a state championship ring.
Kennedy admits to hearing some good-natured trash talking from Morgan about how she has a championship, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility Kennedy can be a part of a title-winning team as well.
Divine Child was in Division 1 last year, but is competing in Division 2 this season. The Falcons were tied for No. 9 in the first Associated Press poll, released earlier this week.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the path to the Finals will be easier, especially with traditional state power Detroit Edison possibly looming in Regionals.
But with one of the state’s best players regardless of division, the sky is the limit for Divine Child.
“We can get it this year,” Kennedy said. “I can feel it.”
Keith Dunlap has served in Detroit-area sports media for more than two decades, including as a sportswriter at the Oakland Press from 2001-16 primarily covering high school sports but also college and professional teams. His bylines also have appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Houston Chronicle and the Boston Globe. He served as the administrator for the Oakland Activities Association’s website from 2017-2020. Contact him at email@example.com with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Divine Child’s Kennedy Blair considers her options while directing the team’s offense. (Middle) Blair celebrates with her teammates. (Photos by Rick Jakacki, Dearborn Divine Child athletics.)
Performance of the Week: Hemlock's Regan Finkbeiner
March 24, 2023
Regan Finkbeiner ♦ Hemlock
Senior ♦ Basketball
The 5-foot-6 guard capped her high school career at Breslin Center over the weekend with team highs of 24 points and four steals in Thursday’s 57-26 Division 3 Semifinal win over Hart and the team-leading 19 points and four assists in the 59-43 win over Blissfield on Saturday that clinched the Huskies their first MHSAA Finals championship in girls basketball.
Finkbeiner played all but four minutes of 64 total over the two games, and she made a combined 15 of her 27 shots from the floor and 9 of 10 free throw attempts, plus four 3-pointers in the Final. She had entered the season’s final week averaging 17.1 points, 3.5 assists and 4.8 steals per game and in February became the program’s all-time leading scorer breaking the previous record of 1,302. A standout in multiple sports, she’s committed to continue playing softball after high school at Madonna University. Her basketball team finished 26-3 this winter.
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March 16: Alaina Yaney, Grand Ledge gymnastics - Report
March 9: Braeden Davis, Dundee wrestling - Report
March 2: Gabriel Sanchez-Burks, Ann Arbor Pioneer swimming - Report
Feb. 23: Grace Sobczak, Marquette swimming - Report
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PHOTO Hemlock's Regan Finkbeiner drives to the basket during her team's Semifinal win over Hart. (Photos courtesy of the Hemlock girls basketball program.)