KINGSWOOD’S EMMA TIERNEY pulls in a rebound over teammate Emily Rumery and Plymouth’s Ann Furbush in action Feb. 5. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
February 11, 2013PLYMOUTH — When the Kingswood and Plymouth girls' hoop teams met up back in December in Wolfeboro, it was too early in the season to make any projections.
And when they met up again on Tuesday, Feb. 5, in Plymouth, the season was winding down and both teams were in desperate need of a win.
The Bobcats entered with just one win on the season, while the Knights came in with two regular season wins, but the last one was the aforementioned game against Plymouth on Dec. 14.
"Every game's a playoff game for us," said Kingswood coach Grady Charland, who watched his team snap a seven-game regular season losing streak with the 42-39 win. "And road wins are nice.
"We haven't won in a while, that is the main thing," Charland added. "Toughness came through in the end. It was nice to win a close one."
"What I want to see is us trying to be more consistent with the effort," Plymouth coach Jim Carey said. "We see moments of good play. The defensive effort has been solid all year, but on the offensive end, we need more consistency.
"We need closer to 32 minutes staying composed with the basketball," he added.
To most observers, it may have appeared that the game was over by the half, as the Knights ran off a 12-2 run to close out the first half and took a commanding 25-11 lead at the break.
However, the Bobcats controlled the third quarter, outscoring the Knights 16-3 to get right back in the game and the teams went back and forth in the final quarter before the Knights escaped with the win.
"I don't question their ability to stay with a game and give a good effort," Carey said. "But the way we were playing, the way we were turning the ball over, our lack of intensity and focus, you would've thought the game was over."
"We had the opportunity to put them away early and we didn't take advantage," Charland said. "It was just flat (in the third), we weren't reacting to anything."
Kingswood's Nicole Matarozzo and Plymouth's Amanda Proia exchanged hoops out of the gate and Matarozzo followed up with three free throws. A Jen Simpson hoop extended Kingswood's lead to 7-2, while Emma Tierney turned in a pair of blocks on the defensive end.
The Bobcats cut the lead to two on a three-pointer from Emelia Karntakosol, but back-to-back buckets from Rachel Lapar and Matarozzo gave the Knights an 11-5 lead after one quarter of play.
Emily Rumery opened the second with a hoop for the Knights, extending the lead to 13-5, but Plymouth senior Kenady Kelly drilled consecutive baskets to cut her team's deficit to 13-9.
From there, however, the Knights took over, as Casey Sargent hit one from the line and Matarozzo hit two. After Proia connected for the Bobcats, Matarozzo hit two more free throws and a hoop and Lapar hit a basket to stretch the lead to 22-11.
Sargent then drilled a three-pointer as time ran out on the half, giving the Knights the 25-11 advantage heading to the second half.
After Stefanie Prescott got Plymouth on the board first in the second half, Lapar answered for Kingswood, keeping the 14-point lead intact. However, the Knights didn't score again in the quarter, as the Bobcats closed out the quarter on a 14-1 run.
Prescott hit a free throw and a field goal and Kelly hit a pair from the line. Proia also hit one from the line. A Kelly hoop with 2:40 to go cut the Knight lead to just six, before Rumery hit a free throw to push it back to seven.
Karntakosol drilled her second three-pointer of the game with 1:35 to go, cutting the lead to four and then hit a hoop with 50 seconds to go to make it a 28-26 game. Kelly hit a free throw with 36 seconds to go in the quarter, pulling Plymouth within a 28-27 margin heading to the final quarter.
"We talked about taking care of the basketball against the pressure," Carey said of his halftime speech. "And our guards attacked their pressure."
"We settled for pull-up jump shots instead of taking it to the hoop," Charland said of his team's tough third. "I credit Jim, they never quit, they're scrappy."
With the two teams in a one-point game with eight minutes to play, the score went back and forth the rest of the way.
A pair of Meghan Coursey free throws opened the quarter and gave the Bobcats their first lead of the game, though it didn't last long, as Sargent hit for the Knights to put them back up by one. A Kelly three-pointer gave Plymouth a 32-30 lead, but a Tierney rebound and hoop tied the game at 32 and free throws from Matarozzo and Tierney gave the Knights a 34-32 lead.
Karntakosol answered with her third three-pointer of the game to give the Bobcats a 35-34 lead and a Proia hoop with 3:30 to go gave the Bobcats their biggest lead at 37-34. Tierney responded with a pair from the charity stripe to cut the lead to one and Simpson followed up with two of her own from the line, giving the Knights the 38-37 lead with just more than three minutes to go in the game.
A Proia bucket put the Bobcats back on top again, but a Rumery free throw tied the game at 39 with 1:36 to go. Rumery then came up with a steal on the defensive side of the ball and turned that into a free throw as well, giving the Knights a 40-39 lead with 40 seconds to play.
Rumery came up with another steal, but this time the Knights turned the ball back over and Plymouth had a chance to take the lead, as they inbounded the ball at halfcourt with 14 seconds to play.
However, Kingswood captain Danielle Wilkins came up with a steal and was quickly fouled, sending her to the line with five seconds to go, where she calmly drilled both shots for the 42-39 lead. Plymouth was unable to get the final basket and the Knights walked off with the win.
Like his Plymouth counterpart, Charland touted consistency as key.
"We were playing in cycles and spurts, the consistency is not there," Charland said. "But, there was no quit."
"We got to the point of taking the lead, it was just a matter of execution, which we need more experience with," Carey said. "We needed to get a couple of better looks in the last few minutes."
He praised Kelley and Karntakosol for their strong games and noted Proia was a force on the glass, even against a larger Kingswood team.
"But the turnovers, there was just way too many early in the game," Carey continued, also noting Kingswood took 32 free throws on the night. "And the difference was at the line."
Matarozzo was the lone Knight in double figures, leading all scorers with 14 points, while Lapar and Sargent each added six.
Kelly led Plymouth with 12 points, while Karntakosol added 11 and Proia chipped in with nine.
The Bobcats rallied a couple of times on Thursday, Feb. 7, but came up short against Coe-Brown, 52-40.
After a slow start, the Bobcats cut the gap to 21 20, but the Bears went on an 8-2 run to close the half with a 29-22 lead. The Bobcats were able to get the lead down to 43-40 with two and a half minutes to go, but the Bears then pulled away.
Coursey had a big game for the Bobcats, finishing with 14 points and eight rebounds, Kelly had 13 points and six rebounds and Karntakosol finished with seven points.
The Knights' game at Oyster River scheduled for Friday, Feb. 8, was postponed until Wednesday, Feb. 13. The team will be hosting Milford on Friday, Feb. 15, and will be at Merrimack Valley o Monday, Feb. 18, both at 6:30 p.m. On Wednesday, Feb. 20, the girls will be at Lebanon for a 5:30 p.m. makeup game.
The Bobcats will be at Manchester West today, Feb. 14, and will be at Kennett on Tuesday, Feb. 19, both at 6:30 p.m. The team will close out the regular season on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 6:30 p.m. against Pelham. They dropped a 52-40 decision to Coe-Brown on Thursday, Feb. 7.
The Plymouth JV girls fell to Kingswood 24-22. Aimee Ball led the Knights with seven points, while Tara Labbe added six. Kelsey Malm led Plymouth with six points and Allison Carey and Aubrey Joslin each added four.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126