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Low-scoring affair goes to Bobcats

Plymouth girls rally past Kingswood in second half

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

PLYMOUTH'S Allison Carey and Kingswood's Rachel Lapar battle for possession in action Dec. 20 in Plymouth. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
December 26, 2013
PLYMOUTH — The Plymouth girls' basketball team had a bit of a struggle offensively in the second game of the season, scoring just 20 points in the game.

The Kingswood girls' basketball team hadn't had much trouble scoring, averaging 47.5 points in the first two games of the season.

But when the two teams met up on Friday, Dec. 20, it was the offensive struggles that took center stage, with the two teams combining to score just 49 points, with the Bobcats edging out the Knights by a 27-22 score.

"Twenty-two points, you're not going to win games scoring like that," said Kingswood coach Karly Gray. "And we didn't help our own cause very much with turnovers."

"Obviously both teams played extremely hard," Plymouth coach Jim Carey said. "We know we struggle with scoring and with turnovers at times.

"But we want to see the girls compete hard when those two things don't occur," Carey added.

Out of the gate, the Kingswood girls were strong, as they scored the only points in the first quarter, keeping the Bobcats off the board. Emily Rumery hit the first hoop and after a bucket from teammate Liz McLaughlin, Rumery hit a free throw and Jen Simpson drained a bucket.

Emma Tierney came up with a big block at the other end and McLaughlin added her second hoop of the quarter and the Knights took a 9-0 lead to the second quarter.

Both teams struggled offensively in the second quarter, as neither team was able to get on the board for almost six minutes.

The Bobcats were the first team to get on the board, as Katie Vachon sunk a pair of free throws with 2:03 to go in the half for the first points of the game for the Bobcats.

Tierney came back and grabbed a rebound and put it back for two points, but the Bobcats answered, with Ann Furbush converting a three-point play with 1:07 to go in the half, cutting the lead to 11-5.

Simpson hit another hoop for the Knights to up the lead to 13-5, but Amanda Proia hit two free throws to close out the first half scoring and the game went to the break with the Knights leading 13-7.

Plymouth came out of the gate in the second half with the first two baskets, as Allison Carey opened the scoring and Emelia Karntakosol followed, cutting the Kingswood lead to 13-11 with 4:25 to go in the third quarter.

After McLaughlin hit another hoop for Kingswood to push the lead to four, Karntakosol drilled a three-pointer to bring Plymouth to within one at 15-14 with 2:4o to go in the third quarter.

Tierney responded with a pair of blocks on the defensive end, but Plymouth was still able to score the only other points of the frame, as a Proia rebound and hoop with 55 seconds to go gave the Bobcats their first lead at 16-15 and Carey drained a three as the buzzer sounded to end the quarter, giving the Bobcats the 19-15 lead heading to the final eight minutes of play.

A Rumery hoop and a Casey Sargent free throw allowed the Knights to pull within one at 19-18 with 4:27 to go in the game. However, Proia answered with a hoop to put her team back up by three. McLaughlin then cut the lead to one again, hitting a hoop with 4:05 to go, but this time it was Frubush answering for the Bobcats, sinking a field goal to put the hosts up 23-20.

The Knights were able to put on strong defense on a Plymouth inbounds pass, creating a five-second violation, which eventually led to a Rumery jumper with 2:07 to go, cutting the lead to one again at 23-22.

Proia hit another hoop with a minute to go, stretching her team's lead to three. The Knights again did a nice job defending an inbounds pass, forcing another five-second violation, but couldn't convert. The Bobcats committed a traveling violation to give the Knights the ball back with 21 seconds to go, but Kingswood turned the ball over in the offensive end and Plymouth got the ball back.

Carey hit a pair of free throws with 13 seconds to go to account for the game's final points.

"We'd get a defensive stop and then not convert," Gray said. "It was one of those days when nothing went our way."

She noted she was very pleased with the defensive effort, especially through the first half, as the Knights held the hosts to just seven points.

"I was very happy with the defensive effort, but at the offensive end, we have so much to work on with turnovers and execution," Gray stated. "We prepared for their trap, we just didn't execute."

She noted that the Knights just put their heads down and dribbled, which is not effective against a trap defense.

"And if we're not executing, Emma can't get the looks she usually does (inside)," Gray said. Tierney provided the Knights with a distinct height advantage in the paint.

"The girls were a little apprehensive to go in there (the paint)," Carey said of his squad. "But in the second half we started to attack inside much more than we had in the first."

Carey noted that in the second half, once they got the lead, part of the plan was to pull the ball out and slow the game down a bit, hoping to keep the Knights from getting scoring chances.

"We got the lead and started to pull it out, running time off the clock," the veteran coach said.

Carey also praised his team's hard work on the boards, noting that the girls did a nice job making up for their lack of height inside. He singled out Proia for her work in the paint.

"She never came out (of the game)," Carey said. "She did a nice job defensively, keeping Kingswood out of the middle.

"She had a heck of a game," he continued. "It's great when you see kids work that hard and be rewarded with a great game."

He also noted that with the win, the Bobcats equaled their win total from last season, a goal the team sets every year.

"Our goal is always to match or better last season's record," Carey said. "It's a small total, but we got to last year's number of wins before Christmas. We'll take a 2-1 record."

For Gray, the Lakes Region Holiday Hoop Tournament was going to be a chance for her girls to work on things that came to light in the Plymouth game.

"It will give us the opportunity to work out the kinds, especially the ones we saw tonight," the first-year Knight coach stated.

For the game, Proia led all scorers with nine points, while Carey also chipped in seven for Plymouth. McLaughlin led Kingswood with eight points and Rumery added seven.

In the JV game, Plymouth hung on for a 29-26 win.

The Knights were in action in the Gilford holiday tournament, while the Bobcats were headed to Manchester Central. Due to early holiday deadlines, both tournaments occurred after the sports deadline.

Both teams return to regular season action on Friday, Jan. 3, with the Plymouth girls hosting Hanover at 6:30 p.m. and the Knights hosting Coe-Brown at 6:30 p.m. On Tuesday, Jan. 7, the Knights host Portsmouth at 6:30 p.m. and the Bobcats visit John Stark at 6:30 p.m.

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

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