STRATTANVILLE, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Kendall Dunn doesn’t play favorites when it comes to the sports she plays.
She loves them all equally.
(Above, Clarion-Limestone’s Kendall Dunn, left, battles for a rebounds against Karns City/photo by Dave Cyphert of ProPoint Media Photography)
When the leaves begin to turn in the fall, the junior at Clarion-Limestone’s favorite sport is volleyball. When frigid air sweeps in during the winter, basketball carries a special place in her heart. And when the snow melts and the trees begin to bud, softball becomes her one and only.
“Whatever sports is in season, that’s my favorite,” Dunn said. “I couldn’t pick one over the others.”
Right now, basketball is Dunn’s passion and she and the Lions are roaring through their most successful campaign in a long time.
Clarion-Limestone is 9-2 and has won six straight games. Dunn has been a force, averaging 13 points per game while doing all the other things a team needs to be successful: steals, assists, rebounding and infinite hustle.
The Lions have a strong core with Dunn, Frances Milliron and Alex Leadbetter all averaging more than 10 points per game. The defense has also been stingy, giving up just 37 points per night.
“It’s been fun. We’re like a family because we’re so close,” Dunn said. “We have such small numbers, and I feel like that’s really brought us together this year. We all just want it very much.”
Clarion-Limestone has just 10 players on its varsity roster. That has made the development of Dunn even more critical — she has nearly doubled her scoring average from last season.
“I didn’t think I was going to have such a big impact on this team,” Dunn said. “I just feel like the people who I’m playing with really makes me who I am now. I feel like they make me a good player because of what they do and how they can make me play well.
“Everyone steps up,” Dunn added. “Frances is one of the team leaders and she’s an amazing player and teammate. I feel like we’d all be afraid of her is she was on the other side. We’re just happy she’s on our team. She lifts us all up.”
Dunn has done that, too.
She scored 16 points and also had six rebounds in a huge 46-43 win over North Clarion last week. She was named Hager Paving Incorporated Player of the Game for her efforts in that victory.
“We just have a lot of heart,” Dunn said. “Even in practice, we have heart. Everyone realized how big this season is for us. We’re 9-2 and even the coaches are as excited about it as we are. They love to be there and we love to be there. I just wish everyone could feel what it’s like to play for C-L because it’s the best place to be.”
Dunn’s younger sister, Jenna, is a freshman on the team.
Kendall Dunn said her sister is “my best friend now since she’s grown up.”
The two push each other, not just on the basketball court. Jenna also plays softball and volleyball — and is pretty good at all three, just like her older sister.
“It’s nice having a teammate in my house because we practice with each other,” Kendall said. “We make each other better every day.”
It’s going to be difficult for Kendall Dunn to do better this spring on the softball field after the numbers she put up in 2021.
Dunn batted a gaudy .656 with six doubles, seven triples, 28 RBI and 22 runs scored while playing a solid defensive shortstop.
Dunn isn’t even sure how she can top that.
“Honestly, I have no idea,” Dunn said, chuckling. “But I’m excited for my sister to come up and play with us. She’s gonna do great. She’s a pitcher, and I feel like she’s going to push me even harder to play better.”
On the volleyball court, Dunn was a setter and enjoyed strong season in that sport, as well.
With so many options, Dunn is beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed when it comes to making a choice on what to do at the next level.
“It’s going to be the hardest decision of my life,” she said.
She knows she wants to play a sport in college. Question is, which of the three?
“It is stressful,” Dunn said. “I don’t know what to pick. I have no plans yet, but I’m working on that with my parents. When I find the right school and the right sport that steals my heart, I feel like I’ll know then.”
Right now, basketball is stealing her heart.
There’s still a lot of season left to be played, but Dunn and the Lions feel like they have a shot at doing some big things.
“I’m really hoping to bring a District 9 title to C-L,” Dunn said. “That’s our goal. I feel like we have to stay healthy because of our little numbers. But we have so much heart to play as hard as we do.”