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Strong defense propels Knights to win

December 21, 2009
NORTHWOOD — With his team trailing in the first quarter of the season's opening game, coach Dan Chick knew that something needed to be done to calm his young team's nerves.

That something was digging in on defense.

The Knights did just that, clamping down on Coe-Brown from the second quarter on and came away with a hard-fought 59-42 win in one of the hardest places to play in the state of New Hampshire, the "Dave Smith Dome" at Coe-Brown Northwood Academy.

The Knights trailed 12-5 in the first quarter and Chick put most of the blame for that on the nerves that his team may have been experiencing.

"We were a little nervous, the jitters were there," he said. "But once we got things under control, and we did that by digging in on defense, we played very consistently and very well."

Chick noted in talking about his team prior to the season, that they seemed to love playing defense, and that fact carried over into the opening game, when the Knights were able to hold the Bears to 30 points over the final three quarters.

"One of the nice things about this team is they love to play defense," the veteran coach said. "And they love what we're doing as far as mixing things up defensively. They're doing exactly what they're asked to do, and they're doing it well."

The Knights got a lot of steals off of passes and even a few off of double teams, which led to easy buckets at the other end.

And Chick expects that the strong defense will only continue to get better as the season progresses.

"It's early, but I think it's going to get better," he said. "The chemistry on this team is outstanding."

The Knights turned the tough first quarter into a six-point lead at halftime and midway through the third quarter had stretched the lead to 10 points.

However, the resilient Bears came bouncing back and cut the lead to four points by the end of the third quarter.

"I am not sure that last year's team would've risen to the occasion, but this year's team rose to the occasion," Chick said. "They dug in on defense and buried them in the fourth quarter."

The Knights outscored the host Bears by a 16-3 margin in the final quarter.

The Knight coach sang the praises of his senior captains, Dylan Lovering and Kevin Smithwood, who he noted encouraged the younger players and led by example the entire contest.

"It's a complete breath of fresh air," he said.

The Knights got 17 points apiece from sophomore guard Kohl Meyers and freshman guard Tate Jozokos, while Lovering added 10 points and Smithwood chipped in with nine. Tim Campbell was the Knight leader on the boards, as he pulled down 10 rebounds.

"There's no me-me-me on this team," Chick said. "It was a complete team effort."

The Knights were in action after deadline Monday (St. Thomas) and Wednesday (Hollis-Brookline) and will next be in action during the holiday tournament in Gilford.

The team's first tournament contest is Monday, Dec. 28, at 11 a.m. against Newfound. If they win that game, the Knights will play on Tuesday, Dec. 29, at 5:30 p.m. If they lose the first tournament game, the Knights will play on Tuesday, Dec. 29, at 11 a.m.

The tournament finals are set for Wednesday, Dec. 30, at 7:30 p.m.

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