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Eagle boys charge past Knights

KENNETT’S DAVE INGRAM battles Kingswood’s Kohl Meyers (left) and Tim Campbell for control of a loose ball on Feb. 23 in North Conway. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
March 01, 2010
NORTH CONWAY — When Kennett and Kingswood meet in any sport, win-loss records can usually be thrown right out the window. The game is usually filled with emotion on both sides and when the clock begins ticking, anything can happen.

The Kingswood basketball boys went into North Conway on Tuesday, Feb. 23, having won four games in a row, including wins over rivals Plymouth and Laconia and a defeat of defending champion Portsmouth.

The host Eagles were on a roll of their own, having won two in a row for the first time all season, also beating mutual rivals Plymouth and Laconia. The Kennett boys needed a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive.

In the end, that's just what they got, as the Eagles used a solid effort all the way around to record a 52-40 win over the Knights, giving them a split of the Carroll County battle for the winter season.

"I am so glad that tonight we played like a team that wants to extend the season," said Kennett coach Steve Coté. "For these guys to come back and regroup and play well as a team ad get the job done is pretty special."

"We got outplayed," said Kingswood coach Dan Chick. "They were a lot more aggressive than we were and they deserved to win."

However, it didn't always appear that way, as the Knights controlled the scoreboard at the start of the game.

Behind three-pointers from Tate Jozokos and Dylan Lovering, a field goal from Tim Campbell and a Lovering foul shot, the Knights jumped out to a 9-2 lead to open the game. Kennett's only hoop came on a Matt Ashnault bucket to give the hosts a 2-1 lead in the early going.

A Tanner Baillargeon hoop and foul shot sandwiched around a Kevin Smithwood shot from the foul line made it 10-5 in favor of the Knights. Cam Eldon completed a three-point play to pull Kennett to within two and an Ashnault three-pointer with 3:20 on the clock gave Kennett the lead at 11-10.

Ashnault hit another hoop to push the lead to 13-10 and a Thomas Stapinski basket with 20 seconds left in the quarter gave the host Eagles a 15-10 lead after one quarter of play.

Lovering converted on the first play of the second quarter to cut the lead to three, but an Ashnault free throw pushed the lead back to four.

Lovering then hit a three-pointer to bring his team to within one point at 16-15, but hoops from David Ingram and Brandon Frost pushed the lead back to five and a pair of free throws from Ingram made it 22-15 before Lovering hit a hoop for the Knights.

Eldon hit a free throw to push Kennett's lead to 23-17 with 1:45 on the clock, but a Joey Irvine rebound and hoop in the final minute cut the Kennett lead to 23-19 at the halftime break.

The Eagles came storming out of the gate in the third quarter and scored the first nine points of the frame. Ashnault hit a field goal and a three-pointer in the run, while Eldon had a hoop and Frost sunk two free throws. The 9-0 spurt pushed Kennett's lead to 33-19 with 4:15 to go in the third quarter.

The Knights finally got on the board with 3:20 to play in the quarter as Smithwood hit a hoop, but the Eagles closed the frame with a 7-0 run, as Ashnault hit a hoop and Eldon converted a three-point play and also drained two more free throws for the 40-21 Kennett lead after three quarters.

Kingswood tried to climb back in the game, as Irvine and Lovering each hit a pair of free throws to open the fourth quarter, but Ingram and Ashnault responded for Kennett with a free throw each to make it 42-25.

Kohl Meyers hit a free throw, but Frost responded with a hoop for a 44-26 Kennett lead. Frost and Liam Duggan chipped in with blocks at the other end of the floor, bringing the Eagle crowd to its collective feet.

Zack McKenzie and Eldon exchanged free throws for a 45-27 lead for the Eagles, but the Knights then went on a short run, scoring the next six points on two hoops from Meyers and one from Irvine to make it 45-33.

Duggan hit a free throw with 3:04 on the clock to end the Kingswood run, but Meyers responded with a bucket with two minutes to play. Kennett's Nik Gagnon hit a pair of free throws, but Lovering answered with two of his own. Frost completed a three-point play with 1:30 to go for a 51-39 Kennett lead.

Meyers got a steal and a bucket with one minute to go and Irvine hit a free throw with 45 seconds on the clock to make it 51-40, but Eldon hit the final free throw of the game for the 52-40 Kennett win.

"I told them after the first quarter, if they continued to play like that, we're going to lose the game," Chick said. "And we continued to play like that and we lost the game.

"They wanted it a lot more than we did," the Knight coach continued.

"We played really, 32 minutes very intensely," Coté said. "We did a nice job defensively and made them work hard for their shots.

"We just have so much respect for Kingswood," the Eagle coach continued. "I've had neither a long or storied coaching career, but this is the biggest game I've been a part of."

Coté offered special praise for Eldon, who has had a solid effort in the team's most recent games, particularly on the defensive end of the ball. Gagnon also earned a kudos for shutting down Meyers and making him work for his shots.

"Anything can happen with the Kingswood-Kennett rivalry," Coté said. "Our guys came really fired up and it was a special night for the seniors."

Ashnault, Gagnon, Duggan, Eldon, Stapinski, Baillargeon, Ingram and Scotty Saunders all played in their final home game as members of the Eagles.

For the game, Lovering led the Knights with 15 points, while Meyers had nine and Irvine added seven.

Ashnault led all scorers with 15 for Kennett, while Eldon added 13 and Frost had nine.

More Eagles

The Eagles made the trip south to Durham on Thursday, Feb. 25, and dropped a 48-32 decision to the Bobcats of Oyster River in the penultimate game of the season.

Kennett finished up the season after deadline on Tuesday at Portsmouth.

Check out our sports section's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wolfeboro-Falls-NH/Salmon-Press-Sports-Wolfeboro/ to find out if the Eagles made it to the tournament. Playoffs begin on Tuesday, March 9.

More Knights

Kingswood saw its chance to bounce back from the Kennett loss postponed by Mother Nature. The game, originally slated for Friday at St. Thomas, was first postponed to Saturday due to power outages in Dover, then was postponed until after deadline Monday afternoon.

The Knights finish up the regular season tonight, March 4, at Oyster River at 6:30 p.m.

Check out our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wolfeboro-Falls-NH/Salmon-Press-Sports-Wolfeboro/ to find out about the Knights' fate in the Class I playoffs, which begin on Tuesday, March 9.

Littleton Chmber
Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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