Grover forges indelible athletic mark as Mariner, BuccaneerSenior is Oceanside's first 1,000-point basketball scorer
Rockland — Four years ago, Kennadi Grover started her high school athletic career with her first varsity team winning a state championship.
Now, as a senior, she could end part of her final high school year the same way.
Grover, a student-athlete at Oceanside High School and standout basketball player for the Mariners, collected her 1,000th career point in a Jan. 11 home victory over Nokomis of Newport.
The 5-foot-10-inch forward, who averaged 14.4 points through 16 games, is one of many factors that have helped the Mariners earn a 14-2 record and be in the regional championship discussion.
The moment Grover eclipsed the 1,000-point mark is one she did not believe she would have the opportunity to experience.
“This feeling just went through my body like, ‘Wow, it finally happened,’ ” she said of reaching the milestone. “I didn’t think I would ever get to 1,000 points. I was just trying not to cry the whole time. Everyone was surrounding me and I just tried to keep it in.”
Grover said it was "awesome" that her name always will be associated with the second-year school as its first 1,000-point hoop scorer.
Grover started her high school career at Georges Valley High School and was a three-sport athlete through her sophomore year.
Once her junior year began, she traded the Buccaneer green and white for the colors of newly-formed, blue-and-white Oceanside High School, the consolidation of Georges Valley and the former Rockland District High School.
Grover called the jump from the Mountain Valley Conference, where many of Georges Valley's games were not as competitive and often led to easy victories for the Bucs, to Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B "a huge difference."
“Class B is definitely faster paced,” she said. “There’s more people my size out there. In Class C there are not many tall people.”
Grover may not physically tower over many opponents in the KVAC as she did in the MVC, but the increase in the level of competition has made her a better player as both the University of New England and the University of Southern Maine are vying for Grover's services on the court in the collegiate ranks next season.
In softball, Grover is a power-hitting player who excels in nearly all positions on the field.
As a high school freshman, Grover was an integral piece of the puzzle that saw Georges Valley win its first state Class C soccer championship.
As the team's goalie, Grover stoned a penalty kick and also made a terrific diving save to help the Bucs earn a thrilling 1-0 win over Orono.
Between that and her recent 1,000-point accomplishment, Grover could not pick one moment over the other as both were tremendous career highlights.
“They’re pretty close,” she said. “I still remember that state championship like it was yesterday just because of the penalty kick and all that.”
The Mariner basketball team has a legitimate shot to help Grover end a few of her final high school playing days the same way they started.
In her Georges Valley years, Grover was the focal point of the offense each night on the court, often drawing double- and triple-teams at times to slow her down.
Now, she's just another spoke on the Mariner wheel — a wheel that has been turning hard all season toward the Eastern Class B playoffs.
“We can go deep in the bench and we know that every substitute will bring more out on the court,” she said. “Someone goes out and someone will come in and play the exact same way that the person that went out did. Being able to go deep into the bench is important to us.”
Grover said she is excited with the likelihood of the Mariners advancing to play in the postseason at the storied Bangor Auditorium — in the building's final year of existence.
Last year the Mariners were downed in the preliminary round of the playoffs and did not advance to Bangor, but the team did play preseason games there in November and made it a point that it would not be its last time to play in the building.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “I would always go and see my friends [from other schools] play at the Bangor Auditorium and I always wanted to know the feeling of what it was like to play up there like [Medomak Valley's] Alanna [Vose] and all them. I went and watched their games, but I never thought I’d get to play there.”
Starting next year, high school tournament games will be played at the new Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, a new facility next to the old Bangor Auditorium.
While Grover is a three-sport athlete excelling in basketball, soccer and softball, having played all three sports every year "since kindergarten," hoops always have been her first love.
“I used to play peewee basketball at the [Rockland] Rec and my dad convinced them to let me play up a grade,” she said. “It was then that I guess we realized I was kind of good and we started pushing it then.”
Grover helped The Courier-Gazette win the 2002 Peewee championship and also led Thomaston Grammar School to back-to-back Busline League basketball championships.
Grover said her father, Chuck, has had a lot to do with her involvement in the sport.
“With me and my dad, it’s always been basketball between me and him,” she said. “We’d go to the gym all the time and shoot around and stuff. I focus more on that than the other sports.”
While dreams of winning state championships ultimately dance through Grover's head — as they do for high school players across the state — that is only one of two things that inspires her to play hard down the stretch this year.
“It being my last year I think is the biggest motivator,” said the senior. “I just want it to last as long as it can.”
Name: Kennadi Grover.
Parents: Tara and Chuck Grover.
Town of residence: Cushing.
Favorite athlete: LeBron James.
Favorite personal moment in sports: Winning the state Class C soccer championship at Georges Valley and scoring my 1,000th basketball point at Oceanside.
Favorite course in school: Math.
TV show you never miss: ESPN's SportsCenter.
Favorite phone/computer app: Facebook.
What do you listen to on your iPod before competing: Smash Mouth, Eminem.
Favorite movie: "Love and Basketball."
Food you pig out on: Chips or ice cream.
Favorite book: "The Notebook" by Nicholas Sparks.
Hobbies: Basketball, going out in the boat with friends.
Vehicle you wish you were driving: BMW or Jaguar.
Person you most want to meet (dead or alive): Michael Jordan.
Most influential people in your life: My family, friends and coaches.
Future plans: Graduate high school, graduate college with a business degree and open up something of my own.
Courier Publications Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.