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Team efforts net pair of wins for Knights

Kingswood hoop boys best local rivals Laconia and Plymouth

JEFF RUNNALS (front) and Kevin Smithwood look like they are practicing for a new sport, synchronized basketball, during the Knights' win over Plymouth on Jan. 26. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
February 01, 2010
WOLFEBORO — Kingswood boys' hoop coach Dan Chick will point to one major stat when talking about the success of this year's Knight squad, in particular, the team's two wins over regional rivals Plymouth and Laconia last week.

"In both games, we had 20+ assists as a team," he said. "For anybody who knows anything at all about basketball, if a team has 20+ assists, that tells you a lot about the character of the team.

"People are looking for each other, they want the other guys to succeed," he continued. "They're making sure the right person has the ball at the right time."

The Knights traveled to Laconia on Friday, Jan. 29, and walked off the court with a 73-52 win after leaping out quickly on the Sachems.

Kingswood came our roaring with 28 points in the first quarter, allowing the hosts to score only nine in the frame. From there, the Knights held strong, and though they were outscored by small margins in the second and third quarter, pulled away a bit more in the fourth for the win.

"We came out really, really strong and really did the job," said Chick, who admitted that with the big lead, he started tinkering with the lineups a bit in the second and third quarter to see what matchups and combinations might work.

All told, nine players got on the scoreboard, showing a complete team effort for the Knights for the second game in a row.

"So far we are beating the teams that have beaten us in the last couple of years," said Chick, pointing to Coe-Brown, St. Thomas, Laconia and Plymouth. "It's really nice to have that happen."

For the game, Kevin Smithwood led the charge with 25 points and also added a pair of assists and a pair of steals. Dylan Lovering had 17 points, five assists and four steals, while Kohl Meyers had 13 points, eight assists and five steals. Tate Jozokos added eight points with four assists and two steals.

"It was a really, really good team effort," Chick noted. "We played very well."

The Knights played host to Plymouth on Tuesday, Jan. 26, and after a tight first half, pulled away with an impressive second half to put up a 79-41 win.

The Kingswood boys came out of the gate strong, scoring 10 of the game's first 11 points. Lovering had two hoops in that run, while Smithwood added a pair of buckets and Jozokos also put in a hoop.

Plymouth scored to make it 10-3, but Lovering answered right back for a 12-3 Kingswood lead.

However, the Bobcats went on an eight-point run to close the gap to 12-11 with just 2:36 left on the first quarter clock.

Lovering hit the final hoop of the quarter to give Kingswood a 14-11 lead after eight minutes of play.

A Smithwood free throw upped the lead to four to open the second quarter, but Plymouth got a three-pointer to cut the lead back to one. Dave Velez drained a bucket and Smithwood completed a three-point play to up the lead to 20-14 before the Bobcats got back on the board.

After a Lovering three-pointer, Plymouth got a pair of free throws to keep it a five-point game. Jozokos hit one from the charity stripe, but Plymouth came back with two from the line and a field goal to make it 24-22.

Lovering hit two from the free throw line to up the lead to four, but Plymouth hit another hoop to pull back within two at 26-24.

Tim Campbell hit the half's final bucket for a 28-24 Kingswood lead after 16 minutes of play.

The Knights absolutely dominated the third quarter, outscoring Plymouth by a 26-10 margin over the eight minutes.

Smithwood, Lovering and Campbell each hit hoops to open the second half, giving Kingswood a 34-24 lead. After a Bobcat hoop, Smithwood hit another bucket to push the lead back to 10. A Plymouth free throw closed the gap to nine, but a Meyers bucket put the Knight lead back in double figures and it never got closer than that.

Lovering sank a three for a 41-27 lead. Plymouth got two points back, but Lovering hit for two and Smithwood hit from the line for a 44-29 lead. After a Plymouth three-pointer, Smithwood hit a bucket for a 46-32 lead. The Bobcats got another hoop, but Smithwood hit four free throws and a field goal and Lovering added a field goal down the stretch of the third quarter, giving Kingswood a 54-34 lead after three quarters of play.

Lovering had the first three baskets of the fourth quarter to up the lead to 60-34. Two of the hoops came off of steals by Smithwood. A Jeff Runnals free throw and a Zack McKenzie hoop made it 63-34 before Plymouth scored their first points of the quarter, a free throw.

Joey Irvine, Everett Wyers and McKenzie all hit buckets to stretch the lead to 69-35 before the Bobcats netted their first field goal of the frame.

Irvine sunk two from the free throw line, then McKenzie and Wyers each added two field goals, one of McKenzie's coming off a great steal by Brendan Stackhouse, as the Knights cleaned up with the 79-41 win.

Ten players scored in the win, with Lovering netting 28 points to lead the way. He also had four assists and two steals. Smithwood had 21 points and added five rebounds. McKenzie chipped in with eight pins and Wyers added six. Meyers added 10 assists to the scorebook.

"I was very worried about this game going in, with good reason," Chick said. "The Plymouth kids play hard and they had played a lot of teams real tough."

Chick was also concerned about the 12-day layoff since his team's last game.

"The second half was the best half we've played all year," he said. "The first half you could tell we hadn't played in 12 days."

The Knight coach noted that his team wasn't taking bad shots in the first half, they just weren't going in, which may have been a sign of a bit of rust.

"But in the second half they started going in," he noted.

The veteran coach went on to praise his team's effort and focus.

"All we are focusing on is Tuesday," he said, referring to his team's game after deadline at Souhegan. "The whole team is pretty much on the same track, one game at a time. That's all we ever think about.

"These guys have been great," he continued. "The attitude's been outstanding, the camaraderie has been unbelievable."

The Knights will be back in action on Friday, Feb. 5, when they host Portsmouth and look for a little revenge on the Clippers, who handed the Knights their first loss of the season on Jan. 8. That is the team's lone game of the week.

Martin Lord & Osman
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