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McKenna is LI's girls basketball player of year

John Glenn's Allison McKenna grabs a rebound during

John Glenn's Allison McKenna grabs a rebound during first-half action of a Suffolk girls basketball final at St. Joseph's College in Patchogue. (Feb. 25, 2012) Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

Allison McKenna was about to face a challenge unlike any she had ever seen.

The Glenn senior center and her teammates were up against a clash of styles with North Shore in the Long Island Class A championship game -- Glenn's half-court offense, built through the 6-3 McKenna, versus North Shore's "System,'' the fastest and most frantic style on LI.

McKenna's size was too much for the Vikings to handle as she had the first triple-double of her career, scoring 30 points, the second-highest of her career, to go with 23 rebounds and 10 blocks as the Knights won, 76-65.

"They really didn't have anybody as big as me," McKenna said. "We had to keep our composure when they were pressuring us and play our game."

McKenna led Glenn to a 21-2 record and the program's third Long Island championship., is the 2012 winner of the Charles H. Clark Award as Newsday's Long Island Player of the Year. McKenna averaged 20.3 points and 11.2 rebounds, lifting those figures to 22.2 points and 13.6 rebounds in the postseason.

"She did so many things. If you just watched her, she was handling the ball against the press," Glenn coach Andy Athanas said of McKenna's performance in the L.I. championship game. "She would be the one kid that was flashing to the middle to break that press and looking downcourt to advance the ball, even inbounding the ball when we had problems. She was doing so many things to help us win that game. She played every second of that game."

Athanas said he'll most remember McKenna for her quiet leadership. Despite her imposing presence on the court, McKenna is soft-spoken and lets her hard work and production do the talking for her.

"She's not an outspoken extrovert. She's very quiet," Athanas said. "In practice, she works as hard as any kid I've ever coached. Everyone just has to follow what she does."

McKenna finished her storied career in disappointing fashion, fouling out for the first time all season as the Knights fell to Rochester East, 66-49, in the state semifinals. She scored 16 points and kept Glenn in the game with a pair of three-pointers.

McKenna finished with 1,264 points and 871 rebounds, averaging a double-double (15 and 11) for her career. She is the third-highest scorer in Glenn history, trailing only her sister Jaclyn and Harmonie Calinda.

"I've been very, very fortunate to have a lot of big kids over the last 12 years. Her basketball skills were right up there," Athanas said. "I thought she was the best in terms of her skill development. She's become more aggressive and more willing to take contact.

"Basketball skill-wise -- the ability to put the ball on the floor, to shoot facing the basket and moves with your back to the basket -- I think she's maybe the best at this stage."

McKenna said it was an honor to be mentioned with her sister, who plays for William & Mary, and Calinda. McKenna will play basketball and possibly volleyball at Geneseo.

"Yeah, I definitely think I was more aggressive. I think it probably was being a senior," she said. "My team was counting on me to make plays."