Playoff update: Eagle hoop girls heading to Class I finals
Wagner scores 1,000th career point in exciting 42-41 win over Portsmouth in semifinals
|MELISSA FRASE gives teammate Allie Wagner a big hug after the Eagle girls upset Souhegan to earn a trip to the Class I Final Four. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)|
|TAYLOR CYR works the puck in front of the Portsmouth bench during action Saturday at Ham Arena in Conway. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)|
|ALLIE WAGNER holds the ball aloft amidst a sea of Kennett fans after leading her team to a 42-41 win in the Class I semifinals Monday in Manchester. Fittingly, the most visible thing on the ball is the number 1,000. Wagner scored her 1,000th career point early in the game. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)|
March 04, 2010MANCHESTER — The Kennett girls' basketball team earned its first trip to the Class I finals since 1993 with an exciting 42-41 win over the second-ranked Clippers of Portsmouth High School Monday night at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester.
Kennett junior guard Allie Wagner again carried her team on her shoulders, scoring 28 points, none of which were bigger than a step-back jumper with 30 seconds left and a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left that put the Eagles back in front after the Clippers had rallied from an 11-point deficit late in the third quarter.
Of course, the biggest individual hoop of the night may have been a simple foul shot 3:02 into the the second quarter. WIth that bucket, Wagner netted her 1,000th-career point, becoming the fifth girl in Kennett High School history to achieve the feat.
The Eagles trailed 8-5 after one quarter, but behind eight straight points from Wagner to start the second quarter, took a 13-8 lead. The Clippers made it a bit closer, but Wagner hit two three-pointers before the half to make it 19-13 at the break.
The Eagles stretched the lead to 28-17 midway through the third quarter on a hoop by Sam Meader, but the Clippers came roaring back and cut the lead to five, 32-27, after three quarters.
Portsmouth scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to pull within one at 32-31 with 5:05 to play. After another Meader hoop gave Kennett a three-point lead, the Clippers tied the game at 34 with 4:45 to play, then took the lead on a free throw and a bucket.
Wagner hit a hoop with 2:20 left to pull Kennett within one, but the Clippers answered. Wagner came up with a big steal and a hoop with 1:28 to play to pull Kennett within one at 39-38 and then a big defensive rebound by Lauren White with one minute to play gave the Eagles the ball back. After a timeout, Wagner hit a step-back jumper with 30 seconds on the clock to make it 40-39. She then raced to the other end and came up with a defensive rebound and was fouled. She hit her foul shots for a 42-39 lead.
The Clippers got a hoop with four seconds left and immediately fouled Wagner on the inbounds pass. Though she missed the foul shots, with only three seconds on the clock, the Clippers couldn't get off a good shot and the Eagles had the win and the trip to the Class I finals.
The Class I championship game takes place Friday, March 12, at 6 p.m. at Southern New Hampshire University.
CONWAY — The Kennett hockey team stood alone on the ice at the conclusion of its first-round playoff game with Portsmouth on Saturday, March 6, and saluted its fans with sticks raised in the air.
It was only fitting that the Portsmouth Clippers had been banished to the lockerroom after instigating a disgusting display in the final minute of the Eagles' 6-0 win at Ham Arena.
The Clippers started a brawl in front of their bench in the final minute of play, attacking Eagle players and officials with reckless abandon before finally being sent off the ice, leaving Kennett to celebrate on its own.
Chuckie Smith got the Eagles on the board with just under six minutes to play in the first period and the 1-0 lead held after one period.
With 7:14 to play in the second, Griffin Meador stuffed home a wraparound goal for a 2-0 lead on the power play and with 4:23 to go the Eagles got another power play goal, this one off the stick of Bryan Lamontagne, giving Kennett a 3-0 lead.
Good hustle by keeper Ricky Gaudreau on a delayed penalty allowed the Eagles to get an extra attacker on the ice in the final minute of the second period and Taylor Cyr banged home the Eagles' fourth goal to send the teams to the intermission with Kennett holding a 4-0 lead.
Meador made it 5-0 just 17 seconds into the third period with yet another power play goal and with four minutes to play, Lamontagne scored his second of the game for the 6-0 finish.
The Eagles will now play Souhegan on Wednesday, March 10, at 7:30 p.m. at the Everett Arena in Concord. The Sabers beat John Stark 3-1 to advance to the semifinals.
Look for a complete wrap-up of the opening game in the March 11 edition. And check back here for playoff updates on Wednesday night.
Eagle hoop girls top Souhegan
AMHERST — If it's true that the great players always come up big when the chips are down, then Allie Wagner went all in Thursday night and the Kennett Eagles came up aces.
The junior point guard scored 34 points, including 11 in the third quarter, leading the Eagles back from a 13-point halftime deficit to a thrilling 50-48 victory over third-seeded Souhegan in the Class I quarterfinals Thursday, March 4.
The host Sabers dominated the first half, as the Eagles struggled to find their bearings and seemed rushed and out of focus. The hosts took advantage, pulling out to a 15-5 lead after one quarter and a 32-19 lead at the half. The Eagles hit only five field goals in the first 16 minutes of the game, but were helped by nine foul shots in the half.
Wagner's backcourt partner, Melissa Frase, went down with an injury midway through the third quarter. At the time the Eagles were trailing by nine, 34-25. Wagner, who scored all of her team's points in the frame, brought the Eagles to within three with one to go in the quarter, but a buzzer-beater from the Sabers gave them a six-point lead, 37-31 after three quarters.
However, Wagner wasn't done and neither was Frase, who returned to the lineup with six minutes to play. Frase hit a pair of free throws with five to go to pull the Eagles within three, 41-38, then 30 seconds later Wagner drained a three-pointer to tie the game at 41. She hit a free throw a minute later for a one-point Eagle lead and down the stretch the Eagles were able to convert on their free throws enough to seal the win.
In addition to Wagner's 34 points, Frase added 14. The two combined for 48 of the team's 50 points on the night. Sam Meader and Lauren White each added a free throw.
The Eagles will now play second-seeded Portsmouth in the Class I semifinals on Monday, March 8, at 6 p.m. at Southern New Hampshire University. The Clippers topped seventh-seeded Kearsarge in other quarterfinal action on Thursday night.
Check out the March 11 print edition for stories on the Eagles' first two playoff games and also check out the sports section's Facebook page and this space for updates.