Allison Dorey controls the ball during action against Kingswood on Dec. 28. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
January 02, 2012GILFORD — Kingswood girls' basketball coach Grady Charland put a plan in place to stop Newfound star Jordan Phinney prior to the teams meeting up in the semifinals of the Lakes Region Holiday Tournament on Wednesday, Dec. 28.
Newfound assistant coach Larry Gibson, filling in for coach Karri Peterson, expected the Knights to be aggressive and physical and prepared his team for that.
Both coaches were successful in what they wanted to do in their original game plans, but in the end, the Bears put together a strong fourth quarter and rolled to a 43-27 win to advance to the tournament finals.
Newfound then defeated Winnisquam the following day (past our early sports deadline) to win the tournament title.
The tournament finals took place after the early deadlines for the paper on Thursday, Dec. 29. More info on that game should appear next week.
"I told the girls before the game that Kingswood would play good, aggressive defense and be very physical," Gibson said. "We just had to play through it."
"Our game plan was to control Phinney and I think we did," Charland said, as the Knights held the Newfound star to 13 points on the night.
The two teams were evenly matched from the start, with Kingswood jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead on hoops from Nicole Matarozzo and Morgan Ekstrom, but Newfound got a pair of free throws from Alex Jewell to cut the lead in half.
Matarozzo followed that up by converting on a three-point play to give Kingswood a 7-2 lead.
A Phinney free throw made the deficit 7-3 and two Brittany Roy blocks on the defensive end kept Newfound from putting in a field goal.
Phinney hit two more free throws to cut the lead to 7-5, but Megen Pollini took a nice pass from Danielle Wilkins to push the lead back to 9-5.
Emily McArthur hit one from the line and a field goal to cut the lead to 9-8 before Kingswood's Rachel Lapar drilled a bucket to push the Knights' lead back to three.
McArthur hit one more hoop prior to the end of the first quarter and Kingswood clung to an 11-10 lead after eight minutes of play.
Pollini got Kingswood off on the right foot to open the second quarter, putting back a rebound for two points, but an Amber Plummer three-pointer eliminated the Kingswood lead, tying the game at 13.
Back-to-back hoops from Pollini and Brittany Roy pushed Kingswood to a four-point lead, but a Phinney three-pointer quickly cut into that lead.
Pollini hit another hoop, but a McArthur free throw, followed by a Phinney block and a three-pointer from McArthur cut the gap to 20-19 heading to the halftime break.
Out of the halftime break, Emma Tierney got Kingswood on the board first, but an Allison Dorey free throw and a three-pointer from Phinney propelled Newfound to the lead at 23-22.
Dorey then hit a field goal to up the lead to three before a Morgan Ekstrom free throw pulled Kingswood back to within two. However, Plummer netted the frame's final point from the line and Newfound led 26-23 after three quarters of play.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Bears, as Newfound held Kingswood to just four points in the frame.
A rebound and hoop from Phinney and a Plummer free throw got Newfound started. After Wilkins hit a hoop for the Knights, McArthur hit a hoop and Carah Marceau sunk a free throw for a 25-32 lead.
Any hopes of a Kingswood comeback took a major hit when Roy fouled out with just more than four minutes to play. Newfound took advantage, with Phinney and McArthur hitting big shots to push the lead to 37-25. Another McArthur hoop made it 39-25 before Jen Simpson got Kingswood on the board again. Dorey closed out the scoring with a hoop and two foul shots, accounting for the 43-27 final.
While Gibson was basically pleased with his team's effort, the free throw shooting was a major flaw, as the Bears hit just six free throws on the night.
"That's very frustrating," he said of the foul shooting. "But you live by the free throw and die by the free throw."
He pointed to his team's tiredness as a possible reason for the missed free throws, as the Bears were worked hard all night by the aggressive Kingswood squad.
"We were a little fatigued and I think that may have attributed to a lot of those missed foul shots," Gibson said. "At times we were exhausted shooting those free throws."
Gibson praised McArthur for another solid game off the bench, as her perimeter shooting helped bring the Bears past Kingswood's physical inside game.
"Their defense forced us on a lot of perimeter shots," Gibson said.
He also noted that while Kingswood was able to slow Phinney in the scoring column, the senior had a solid all-around game, contributing on defense in a big way.
"When things aren't going well offensively, she'll contributed defensively," Gibson said. "She has other ways to contribute."
The Newfound mentor noted it was certainly his team's most physical game of the season.
"I'm pleased with the effort tonight," he said. "Both teams played hard."
Charland lamented his team's many fouls and noted that they were probably his squads downfall.
"They weren't smart fouls either," Charland said. "Our passing game was awful and we didn't seem like we had any confidence with the ball. They just wanted to get rid of it."
The Knights certainly had the size advantage going into the game, but they weren't able to take advantage of that in the paint.
"We played into Newfound's hands," Charland said. "We wanted a possession game, we had the size, but we didn't play mental basketball."
He noted that he was surprised to see his team get rattled, as most of the lineup was returning veteran players.
"We're an experienced club and that shouldn't rattle us," Charland stated. "Mentally, we weren't ready to play."
He noted that much of Kingswood's offense comes from its defense and the defense had breakdowns that didn't allow the offense to get going.
"When we get in foul trouble, that takes away things we want to do," Charland said.
McArthur led all scorers with 15 on the night, while Phinney chipped in with 13. Pollini had eight to lead the Knights and Matarozzo added five.
Newfound opened the tournament with a 60-21 win over Laconia on Tuesday, Dec. 27.
Newfound led 20-4 after one quarter and held a 34-10 lead at halftime. The lead was 54-18 after three periods.
Phinney went for 20 points, while McArthur and Dorey each chipped in with 11.
Newfound will be on the road on Friday, Jan. 6, at Belmont for a 6:30 p.m. game. The girls will then host Franklin at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 10, as part of a varsity doubleheader.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126