Knights write the perfect ending
Kingswood girls' basketball team knocks off Plymouth and St. Thomas in season's final week
|SENIORS (l to r) Hannah Seibel, Erin Deely and Lisa Sevigny played their final games as members of the Kingswood basketball team on Thursday, Feb. 25. Kathy Sutherland. (click for larger version)|
March 01, 2010WOLFEBORO — The season was a bumpy ride for the Kingswood girls' basketball team, but the ride ended in the best way possible as the Knights picked up two wins in the final week of the season.
The Knight girls capped off their big final week with a win over St. Thomas, who entered the game seeded third in Class I, but left Wolfeboro with a 55-53 loss to the Knights.
"They came to play," said coach Grady Charland of his girls. "It was a great atmosphere. Everything else just fell into place."
St. Thomas jumped out to an early lead, pulling ahead 16-10 after one quarter of basketball, but the Knights didn't go away easily.
Kingswood outscored St. Thomas by a 14-12 score in the second quarter, cutting the lead to 28-24 at halftime.
The two teams then battled evenly through the third quarter, with both sides putting in 14 points for a 42-38 St. Thomas lead with just eight minutes to play.
The Knights came storming back in the fourth quarter, hitting for 17 points while holding the Saints to just 11.
No hoop was bigger than point guard Morgan Ekstrom's jump shot in the final minute. The sophomore hadn't scored all night, but with her team trailing by one, 53-52, she beat the St. Thomas defender off the dribble and drained a 10-foot jump shot for the lead.
"That's just the way Morgan's played all year," Charland said. "Especially the last few weeks. She's limited the turnovers and settled the offense down. She's sacrificed her offense for the good of the team."
While Ekstrom hit the big shot to put the Knights ahead, Erin Deely and Brittany Roy were hitting everything else for the Knights.
Deely, in her final game in a Kingswood uniform, lit up the scoreboard for 25 points, had eight rebounds and three steals. Roy had 17 points and pulled down six boards. Ekstrom had six rebounds and a pair of steals to go with her hoop and Alyssa Nelson had eight rebounds to go with her two points.
"Deely was unbelievable," Charland noted. "That's the best I've seen her play. She was everywhere. She refused to let us lose that one."
Charland also praised Roy for playing through a significant shoulder injury the final few weeks of the season.
Senior Lisa Sevigny, a JV player for most of the season, got the start in the Knights' final game and scored the first four points of the game for the hosts, a fitting end to her career.
The boys' basketball team also came out in strong support of the Knights on senior night, which Charland was appreciative of.
"I can't say enough about the boys' basketball team being there to support us," Charland said. "The place was jammed
"I was pretty much speechless after the game," Charland noted.
The Knights' lone dim spot on the week came on Tuesday, Feb. 23, when Kennett came to town and handed the Knights a 72-39 loss.
"We just don't match up with them well at all," Charland said. "Those two guards (Melissa Frase and Allie Wagner) are just unbelievable."
The Knights stayed in the game through the first quarter and with seven minutes to play in the half, trailed by only seven 21-14.
However, the Eagles went on a 21-2 run over the final seven minutes of the half to take a 42-16 halftime lead.
"It just happened so fast," Charland said. "They are the best team we've played all year."
Megen Pollini, Deely, Roy and Nikki Matarozzo each had eight points in the contest and Nelson chipped in with 11 rebounds.
The Knights opened the week with a 34-26 win over Plymouth on Monday, Feb. 22, the team's first win of the season.
The Knights came out and trailed 7-6 after one quarter of play, but outscored the Bobcats 13-9 in the second quarter to take a 19-16 lead at halftime and outscored their opponents by one in the second half for the win.
"It was huge for us to come out and win," Charland said. "They played great defense. They really clamped down."
As a point of reference, Plymouth had only three field goals in the second half and their center, who had a big game when the Knights traveled to Plymouth, didn't hit one field goal all night.
"That's a tribute to Pollini, Roy, Alyssa and Ari Lehner on he blocks," Charland said.
The Knights had only 12 turnovers in the game and outrebounded the visitors 39-22 for the game.
"I think the win over Plymouth had lots to do with the win over St. Thomas," Charland noted.
For the game, Roy had 11 points and five rebounds, Pollini had eight points and 16 rebounds, Ekstrom had five rebounds and three steals to go with her four points and Nelson had five rebounds. Hannah Seibel scored four key points in the fourth quarter to keep the Knights from falling behind.
All told, it was a successful week in what has been a tough season for the Knights.
"It was the perfect way to end the season for the seniors and a great way for the kids coming back to start next year," Charland said. "It gives them a load of confidence.
"It was just great to see all the girls with smiles on their faces to end the season," the Knight coach continued.
Kingswood finished at 2-16 on the season and their two wins in the final week jumped them about five spots in the final Class I standings.