There was never a doubt in Kaitlyn Kennedy’s mind that she would be playing basketball when she was old enough.
The Onalaska Luther High School graduate watched her three brothers — Christian, Collin and Benjamin — play the sport from the time that she was a toddler. The pickup games outside the house quickly turned into something more serious, though.
The three oldest Kennedys stormed through their high school careers, each earning a spot in the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division 4 All-Star Game. Christian played in 2015, Collin in 2016 and Benjamin in 2017. The bar was set high for Kaitlyn, but she was determined to clear it.
After putting up an impressive senior season with the Knights — she averaged 14.2 points per game — Kaitlyn followed her brothers’ footsteps and was selected to play in the WBCA Division 4 All-Star Game, slated for 10:45 a.m. Friday at JustAGame Fieldhouse in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
“I was so excited when I learned I would be playing in the All-Star game because I’ve been to all of the ones that my brothers have played in,” she said. “I knew it would be a really cool experience, and it’s been one of my goals for the longest of time.”
Kaitlyn — a Viterbo University recruit — has been playing basketball for as long as she can remember. When she was just a toddler, she was already perfecting her dribbling skills and tossing the basketball up, trying to make contact with the hoop high above her head.
The early exposure to the game came after the Kennedy family made basketball a regular activity within the household. Bernie Kennedy, the kids’ dad, always knew that Kaitlyn’s love of basketball was because of how frequently she was around it.
“She didn’t really have much choice with all of her brothers constantly playing,” Bernie said with a laugh. “You can always tell which girls on the court had some older brothers by the way that they play.”
Kaitlyn agrees that her three brothers have helped shape her into the player she became. Besides practicing shooting in the backyard every day, Kaitlyn was influenced to put her all into basketball by observing the work ethic of each of her brothers.
“All three of them work really hard,” she said. “I was always seeing them go the gym and practice shooting, and that made me want to be just like them. They were all very talented by the way that they played, and that made me want to be just as good.”
Kaitlyn’s love for basketball will continue with the V-Hawks next season. But Kaitlyn knows that getting to the level of college athlete was done with the help of her older brothers.