KINGSWOOD'S EMMA TIERNEY goes for a shot over Kennett's Rachelle Cormier in action Jan. 10. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
January 13, 2014WOLFEBORO — If there was ever a night the Kingswood hoop girls wanted to break free of their scoring troubles, it was Friday, Jan. 10.
Not only were the Knights taking on their Carroll County rivals from Kennett, but the whole night was serving as a fundraiser for Kingswood senior Emily Jewett, who was injured in a car crash in December.
While honoring their friend and teammate, the Knights entertained a large crowd in their home gym and walked off the court with a 41-18 win over their rivals from North Conway.
"At home, versus our big rival, with a fundraiser for Emily, a lot of things came together and made this one really special for us," Kingswood coach Karly Gray stated. "Especially after a couple of tough losses."
For Kennett coach Larry Meader, it was a different story, as the Eagles were without leading scorer Juliauna Dunlop and Meader had a couple of other players battling through the same illness on the court.
"We've got to look for our shots, too many times we had a shot and didn't take it," he said. "We have to have one of the other kids step up and look for the offense."
Kingswood scored 11 of the first 13 points in the game, as the Knights were able to get out early and take advantage of an Eagle offense missing its point guard and scoring leader.
Casey Sargent got the night started with a bang, draining a three-pointer for a quick 3-0 Kingswood lead. After an Erin Milford free throw got Kennett on the board, Jen Simpson and Liz McLaughlin hit back-to-back buckets for the Knights to up the lead to 7-1. Milford hit another free throw to bring Kennett to within five at 7-2.
However, Emma Tierney and McLaughlin put the ball in the basket to push the Kingswood lead to 11-2 before Kaylin Samia closed out the quarter with a hoop for the Eagles, making it 11-4 after one quarter of play.
Samia opened the second quarter with a rebound and hoop to again bring the Eagles within five, but Simpson took over from there, hitting a free throw and consecutive hoops to quickly stretch the Kingswood lead to 16-6.
After a Samia hoop got the Eagles back on the board, Tierney hit inside and Rachel Lapar drilled a three-pointer, closing out the first half with a 21-8 lead for the host Knights.
The second half saw Kingswood start moving the ball inside, with Tierney and Emily Rumery getting good looks in near the basket. The result was a 12-4 differential in the quarter.
Rumery hit the first two hoops of the second half and Tierney finished a nice feed from Rumery for a 27-8 lead before Kennett finally got on the board on an Arielle Seavey free throw.
Tierney and Rumery followed that up with back-to-back hoops for the Knights and Tierney added another basket as the Kingswood lead grew to 33-9.
The highlight of the night for the Kennett girls came as the quarter drew to a close, as Milford hit Kennett's lone field goal of the frame from just inside half-court, cutting the lead to 33-12 heading to the fourth quarter.
Gwynn McGinley got Kennett on the board in the fourth quarter, but Sargent followed that with a hoop and Tierney added two more buckets. A Lapar rebound and hoop pushed the lead to 41-14 before Samia hit two free throws and Milford hit a bucket to close out the game at 41-18.
Gray noted that during practice this week, the Knights worked on playing to their strength, which means getting the ball inside, where Rumery and Tierney can get to the hoop.
"I thought we executed that to the best of our ability tonight," Gray said. "And we played good defense, that's what we're all about."
She pointed out that the Knights have talked a lot about holding teams on the defensive end and she mentioned that again the Knights did a good job in that area, not allowing a lot of chances.
Meader noted that his team didn't want to take the ball to the hoop and be aggressive, which he figured would be a good way to get some points, if not from the inside baskets then from foul shots.
"I called timeout when they had six team fouls and the shots weren't going and told them to go to drive to the hoop," Meader said. "I called another timeout three minutes later and no one had picked up another foul.
"We just didn't want to take it to the bucket," he said.
He pointed out that on a positive note, Seavey and Gianna Jones both saw solid minutes off the bench, which he hopes will be key as the Eagles move forward.
However, there is one other key thing the Eagles need moving forward.
"We've just got to get healthy," Meader said.
Tierney finished with 14 points to lead the Knights, while Samia added eight to lead the Eagles.
Both schools combined on the efforts to help Jewett, as Kennett held a collection at the boys' game the previous night and presented the funds. A number of raffles, including a 50/50 and many items donated by local businesses, were held throughout the game.
Kingswood dropped a 46-25 decision to Portsmouth in its other game last week.
The Knights will be in action on Friday, Jan. 17, at 6:30 p.m. at Merrimack Valley High School before playing on their home court again on Monday, Jan. 20, at 1:30 p.m. against Lebanon.
Kennett had its other game on the week postponed by weather. They will be hosting St. Thomas in a makeup game at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18.
The Eagles will also be hosting Plymouth on Friday, Jan. 17, and will be at Berlin on Tuesday, Jan. 21, both at 6:30 p.m.
In the JV game, the Knights defeated the Eagles by a 34-20 score. Jackie Bernier had 12 points to lead Kingswood, while Sydney Perk added 12 to lead the Eagles.
Sargent 2-0-5, Simpson 3-1-7, McLaughlin 2-0-4, Tierney 7-0-14, Lapar 2-0-5, Rumery 3-0-6: Totals 19-1-41
Milford 2-2-7, Samia 3-2-8, Seavey 0-1-1, McGinley 1-0-2: Totals 6-6-18
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.