THE KINGSWOOD GIRLS pose with the plaque after winning the Lakes Region Holiday Hoop Tournament. Front row (l to r), captains Emily Rumery, Nicole Matarozzo and Danielle Wilkins. Back row (l to r), Casey Sargent, Rachel Lapar, Jen Simpson, Emma Tierney, Casey Fusco, Griffin Charland, Emily Jewett, Abbie Dempsey and Aimee Ball. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
January 07, 2013GILFORD — With the first part of their seasons almost in the book and a fresh new year ahead, both the Gilford and Kingswood girls' basketball teams were looking to finish off 2012 on a positive note when they met in the finals of the Lakes Region Holiday Hoop Tournament on Monday, Dec. 31, in Gilford.
In the end, it was the Knights who prevailed, using a strong defensive effort to get by the Golden Eagles on their home court and claim the tournament championship with a 47-30 victory.
"All the small things add up to a win," Kingswood coach Grady Charland said. "That definitely feels good."
"I knew we'd get open looks, but if they're not going in, they're not going in," said Gilford coach Rick Forge. "It was a lack of offense, not a lack of defense."
The Knights were able to hold a slight advantage in the first quarter, putting up seven points to Gilford's six, as Molly Dietrich hit the first two hoops for Gilford and a pair of Abby Harris free throws accounted for the remainder of the points. Kingswood countered with two hoops from Nicole Matarozzo, who was named tournament MVP for her work in the three games, and a three-pointer from Danielle Wilkins.
Gilford came out in the second quarter and quickly took the lead on hoops from Maddie Harris and Dietrich, but Kingswood bounced right back with a pair of free throws from Emily Rumery, a hoop from Emma Tierney and a coast-to-coast basket from Matarozzo to take a 13-10 lead.
Gilford bounced back with hoops from Dietrich and Jordan Dean to take the lead again, but a three-pointer from Matarozzo, a pair of free throws from Jen Simpson and a hoop from Matarozzo with 30 seconds to go allowed the Knights to close the quarter on a 7-0 run and go to the break with a 20-14 lead. Tierney came up with a big defensive rebound to get the Knights the final hoop of the half.
An Abby Harris hoop got Gilford going in the second half and after a Wilkins hoop and a Rumery free throw, the Gilford senior hit a free throw, but after that, it was all Knights for almost the entire quarter.
Matarozzo hit three from the line and Rumery added another free throw. Simpson followed up a Tierney block with a hoop and it was 31-17 with 1:45 to go in the third quarter. Abby Harris closed out the quarter with a hoop in the final 40 seconds, but Kingswood was well in control heading to the fourth at 31-19.
However, the Knights struggled to put the Golden Eagles away, missing numerous free throws. The Knights were able to secure plenty of defensive and offensive rebounds to keep the Golden Eagles from getting any closer.
Sarah Veazey hit a pair of hoops early in the fourth and both Abby Harris and Dietrich hit from the line for the hosts. Abby Harris hit a field goal as well, but Kingswood stayed ahead with hoops from Simpson, Rumery and Tierney, as well as free throws from Tierney, Wilkins, Matarozzo and Casey Sargent, helping to close out the win.
"We just couldn't put that team away tonight," Charland said. "Free throws should've put them away. Maybe they just like to scare the coach."
Forge noted that Kingswood's size in the middle may have played a role in his team's poor shooting.
"We missed shots and some of that may be the intimidation factor," Forge said. "Kingswood's a big team and their big girl (Tierney), she's a force."
The veteran Gilford mentor noted his team just seemed tentative to go to the hoop for much of the contest.
"We didn't get enough offensive output from our big girls inside," Forge said. "You could see our bigs inside get intimidated."
He also noted that not getting buckets in five trips up and down the floor is not the way to get things moving in the right direct.
Forge praised the play of Dietrich, who was named First Team All-Tournament for her work.
"It's a great way to end the year and a great way to start a new year," Charland said. "They have their confidence back."
The Knight coach praised the work of Tierney and Rumery inside, noting their defensive presence was key in keeping the hosts off their game.
"Emma stepped up, they didn't have many second or third shots," Charland said. "And Emily was a force on the glass the entire tournament."
Charland was pleased that his team didn't allow many uncontested layups and did a good job going from offense to defense.
"Hopefully this is what we'll do in the second half," he said.
For the game, Matarozzo led all scorers with 16 points, while Rumery and Wilkins each had eight. For Gilford, Dietrich led the way with 11 and Abby Harris added 10. Dietrich was named to the All-Tourney First Team along with Matarozzo and Rumery earned All-Tourney Second Team honors.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126