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Bobcats dominate Knights in season opener


by Joshua Spaulding
Sports Editor - Granite State News, Carroll County Independent, Meredith News, Gilford Steamer, Winnisquam Echo, Plymouth Record-Enterprise and Baysider

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PLYMOUTH’S Jordan Browne (in white) battles with Kingswood’s Adam Szewczyk (left) and Zach Smithwood for control of a rebound in action Dec. 14. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
December 17, 2012
PLYMOUTH — The lineups that the Kingswood and Plymouth boys' basketball teams put on the floor for their season opening tilt on Friday, Dec. 14, told the story of the game.

The Knights started a lineup of four seniors and a junior, while the Bobcats started five juniors. However, the five Plymouth juniors came to the court with a ton of varsity experience while the Knight lineup featured only a minimal amount of varsity experience.

The end results bore that out, as the Bobcats used their experience to capitalize on the Knights' lack of experience and took a 55-26 win to start the season.

"We start five juniors, but they are five guys with a lot of varsity minutes," Plymouth coach Mike Sullivan stated. "And they were really ready to play tonight."

"We were a step behind every play," Kingswood coach Dan Chick stated. "We had way too many turnovers. We saw someone open, the lane got filled and then we threw the pass.

"That all comes from a lack of experience," the veteran Knight mentor said. "We have a lot of inexperienced players and it showed tonight."

Plymouth jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead, keeping Kingswood off the board for more than four minutes. Jordan Browne started the scoring with a three and after a Kyle Reisert free throw, Jared Kuehl hit back-to-back buckets to give the Bobcats the 8-0 lead.

Sophomore Matt Harrison put back a rebound for Kingswood's first hoop with 3:20 to go in the period, but Kuehl followed that up with a three-point play to up the lead to 11-2.

Sophomore Dan Eldridge got Kingswood back within three points by netting six points in a row. First he converted a three-point play and then drained a three-pointer, making it 11-8.

However, a hoop by Reisert and a steal and hoop from Browne upped the Bobcat lead to 15-8. A Zach Smithwood free throw made it 15-9 after one quarter of play.

Browne started the second quarter just like the first, burying a three-pointer and a Reisert steal and hoop followed for a 20-9 lead. The Bobcat run continued with another Browne three-pointer and a three-point play from Kuehl, upping the lead to 26-9 before Ben Cashman buried a three for the Knights to stop the 11-0 run.

Browne immediately responded with his third three-pointer of the quarter to up the lead to 29-12 and Adam Szewczyk hit two free throws for the Knights to close out the half with the score 29-14 in favor of the hosts.

The Bobcats opened the third quarter on another run, this one a 7-0 spurt. Kuehl hit back-to-back hoops to open the frame, Collin Sullivan hit two free throws and Browne sunk one from the line for a 36-14.

Eldridge got Kingswood on the board with a bucket, but Browne answered with another three-pointer. Ben Burrows came right back with a hoop for the Knights, but Reisert hit back-to-back hoops for Plymouth, pushing the lead to 43-18. After a Browne hoop added two more to the Plymouth lead, Dylan Hall sunk two free throws to close out the quarter for the Bobcats, making it a 47-18 lead with eight minutes to play.

Kuehl converted a Sullivan steal to open the fourth quarter and Reisert and Michael Burhman followed with buckets before Cashman and Harrison hit back-to-back hoops for the Knights.

Plymouth's Sam Dimick hit two free throws to round out the scoring for the hosts and Smithwood hit two hoops to close out the scoring for Kingswood.

"Right now w'ere not a good basketball team," Chick said. "We didn't deserve to win.

"I don't think we practiced hard enough," he continued. "That's got to change if we're going to have any success."

The veteran coach noted that it is possible to work through inexperience and overcome it.

"You can get by inexperience if you hustle, but we got outhustled 100 percent of the time at both ends of the floor," Chick said. "We got beat in every aspect of the game.

"That will continue to happen until we toughen up and play better as a unit and as individuals," Chick added.

Sullivan noted that one of his team's goals was to control the pace of the game, which his squad accomplished.

"We pressed, trying to set the tempo and speed the game up," Sullivan said. "I thought the kids were well-prepared. They wanted that tonight."

The Bobcat coach pointed out that at the start of the season, he was confident in his group, but also noted the goals that need to be met had to begin at the start.

"We've got goals for our season," he said. "We can't have any of those goals accomplished without winning game one."

The Bobcats were buoyed by the return of Browne, who was part of the program as a freshman, but moved out of town and played hoops in Massachusetts last year before returning this season.

"He was part of our plans last year before he moved," Sullivan said. "We're happy to have him back. He shot the ball really well."

Sullivan also praised Kuehl and Sullivan for their solid defensive efforts and Reisert for his dominating efforts on the boards.

The Bobcats also played the game without junior captain Gavin Brickley, who is out with an injury but is expected to return to action soon.

"We're excited to have him back," Sullivan said.

For the night, Browne led all scorers with 20 points, including five three-pointers. Kuehl added 16 and Reisert put in 11. For the Knights, Eldridge led the way with eight points and Smithwood and Cashman both had five.

Next up for the Knights is a home game against Coe-Brown on Friday, Dec. 21, at 6:30 p.m., the final regular season game of 2012. The Knights will kick off the Lakes Region Holiday Hoop Tournament in Gilford on Thursday, Dec. 27, at 11 a.m. against Winnisquam.

The Bobcats will be in action on Friday, Dec. 21, at John Stark, also their final regular season game of 2012.

The two teams meet again in Wolfeboro on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

JV action

The Bobcat JV boys defeated Kingswood by a 54-37 score. Mike Buhrman led the Bobcats with 13 points, while J.J. Murray chipped in with 12 points. The Knights were led by Jeff Madden, Ben Tessier and Justin Morton, all of whom chipped in eight points.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at sportsgsn@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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