January 28, 2013WHITEFIELD — The long bus ride back through Crawford Notch didn't feel terribly long at all for Kennett boys' basketball coach Steve Coté on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
That's what a win will do to a team.
"It's amazing how short long bus rides are when that happens," Coté said. "It was a nice feeling."
Kennett picked up its first win of the season with a 64-35 win over the Spartans of White Mountains Regional in Whitefield on Jan. 22.
The Eagles got out to a 5-0 lead against the Spartans and used defensive pressure to stretch the lead. Sophomore point guard Brandon DiLucchio then drained a pair of big three-pointers to give Kennett a 17-4 lead with just less than a minute and a half to go in the first quarter.
The Spartans were able to fight back a bit in the second quarter and cut the lead to 27-18 at the halftime break, but then the Eagles really turned things on.
Kennett forced a number of Spartan turnovers and turned those in to points and reeled off a 17-0 run over the next 4:49 seconds to push the lead to 44-18 before the Spartans scored their first point of the quarter. All told, Kennett outscored the hosts 22-5 in the frame.
"The key difference was we were able to turn them over a bit," Coté said.
The Eagle coach said that the team's practice the previous night was probably its best of the season, which he found a bit unusual, being as it was a holiday weekend.
"It was probably our best practice all year, it was very efficient," Coté said. "And it kind of carried over into the game."
The Eagles were taking shots with confidence all night long, shooting about 45 percent from the field.
"That is a huge step in the right direction," the Eagle coach said. "The kids were shooting with confidence."
There were a few chinks in the armor for the Eagles, as they allowed the Spartans to close the gap heading to the half, but the Coté noted that the kids responded pretty well after that.
"The inexperience of the team at the end of the first half made it close," the Eagle coach said. "We were throwing the ball up and being careless."
However, the run to open the second half showed Coté what his team is capable of and hopefully what the boys have to look forward to in the second half of the season.
"It's a good start, we needed it badly and the guys played very, very well," Coté said. "It's a good way to close out the first half of the year."
DiLucchio had a fantastic game, leading the way in points and rebounds, as he poured in 22 points, including five three-pointers, and grabbed eight rebounds. Nick Graziano had 13 points and Thomas Loynd chipped in with nine on the night.
The Eagles will be back in action on Friday, Feb. 1, against Bishop Brady and Tuesday, Feb. 5, against Merrimack Valley, with both games coming at home and set for 6:30 p.m. starts.
Jonathan Benton of the Coos County Democrat contributed to this report.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126