KINGSWOOD’S Mackenzie Tetreault tries to get a shot off between Kennett’s Nate Ela (left) and Scott Conner. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
February 06, 2012NORTH CONWAY — Nobody could blame Kingswood boys' hoop coach Dan Chick if he was feeling a little déjà vu on Monday, Jan. 30.
Two years ago, his Knights rolled into their Carroll County rivalry game encountered a struggling Kennett team. The Knights got out to a big lead and the Eagles stormed all the way back and upset the Knights.
Last Monday, as the Knights jumped out to a 12-0 lead and Chick began seeing the Eagles clawing their way back, he called an early timeout.
"This was very, very similar to what happened two years ago here," Chick said. "We got out to the quick lead and we lost the game.
"I could see that happening again, so I called the timeout when I saw things start to go south," he added. "From then on, it was a game."
The Knights were able to eventually best the Eagles, though they needed a little overtime to get it done.
"When you mention classic Kingswood-Kennett games, this is clearly one of them," said Kennett coach Steve Coté. "Though I choose to remember the one a couple years ago more fondly."
The Knights got two free throws from Kohl Meyers with 1:16 on the clock in the extra session to take a 59-58 lead, then got a big block from Ben Burrows and a steal from Parker Shure with just five seconds to go to help close out the 61-58 victory.
Anybody who thought the game was over early could not have been blamed, as the Knights came storming out of the gate on a 12-0 run. Hoops from Chad Peterson, Zach McKenzie and Meyers, as well as three-pointers from McKenzie and Mackenzie Tetreault propelled the Knights to the lead before Kennett's Seth Davison finally got his team on the board with a rebound and hoop. A Robert Starkey three-pointer cut the lead to 12-5, but a pair of free throws from Adam Fritchy gave Kingswood a 14-5 advantage.
The Eagles kept on coming, as Alex Milford and Jordan Stocker drained back-to-back three pointers to cut the lead to three and a Davison hoop pulled Kennett within one at 14-13 with 1:45 to go in the first period.
A McKenzie three pushed Kingswood's lead back to four a minute later, but a Starkey three with 10 seconds on the clock pulled Kennett back to within one and Stocker got a steal and hoop as time expired in the quarter to give Kennett an 18-17 lead after one quarter of play.
A McKenzie free throw tied the game to open the second quarter, but Brandon DiLucchio put Kennett back on top with a bucket. An Andrew Place three-pointer put Kingswood back on top, 21-20, but a Scott Conner hoop answered the bell and Kennett retook the lead to 22-21.
McKenzie converted a three-point play to give the Knights the lead again and a Meyers bucket stretched the lead to 26-22. A Nate Ela three quickly cut into that lead, but back-to-back buckets from Burrows and Meyers gave the Knights a 30-25 lead.
However, the Eagles scored four of the final six points in the quarter to cut the lead to 32-29 at the half. Starkey had both hoops for Kennett, sandwiched around a Place bucket for the Knights.
Michael Lautenschlager got the Eagles out of the gate strong in the third, as he drained the first six points of the quarter, converting a steal into a basket, hitting a three-pointer and then draining a free throw, giving Kennett a 35-32 lead.
Meyers hit back-to-back hoops, the second coming off a Fritchy steal and a nice Tetreault feed, propelling the Knights back to the lead. Tetreault hit two from the line and drained a field goal to push the lead to 40-35.
However, a Stocker three-pointer cut the lead back to two. McKenzie and Tetreault closed out the quarter with hoops for the Knights, pushing the lead to 44-38 after three quarters of play.
Kennett opened the fourth with the first three points, as Stocker hit a hoop and Starkey sunk a free throw, but a Meyers bucket kept the hosts at bay, 46-41.
Another Starkey three-pointer and two Milford free throws tied the game at 46 with 4:15 to play in the fourth quarter. A Stocker hoop gave Kennett the lead, but Tetreault hit a free throw to cut the lead to one.
Stocker then drilled a three-pointer to give the Eagles a four-point lead with 1:17 to go. Meyers answered with a hoop, but Davison sunk two free throws and Kennett held a 53-49 lead with one minute to play.
A hoop from McKenzie cut the lead to two before a DiLucchio free throw pushed it back to three. However, Meyers drilled a three-pointer with 30 seconds on the clock and neither team could hit in the final seconds, sending the game to overtime tied at 54.
McKenzie hit a hoop and a foul shot to open the extra session, but two foul shots each from DiLucchio and Starkey gave Kennett a one-point lead with 1:38 to go.
Meyers then hit two free throws to give the Knights the lead and after the Burrows block and Shure steal, Meyers hit two more from the line to account for the final score.
"We absolutely needed this game," said Chick, his team on a two-game slide. "I feel fortunate to get out of here with a win."
He praised the Eagles for hanging tough even after the early deficit threatened to put them out of the game early.
While there were positives to gain from the win, Chick also noted that the Knights missed some free throws (50 percent from the line) and some easy layups that would've made the game an easier win.
However, with the win, he was looking to regain the footing his team lost in the previous week.
"Last week was a big step backward," he said. "So we're going to try to bounce back from that."
"When they went up that early, certain teams could've easily packed it in," Coté said. "But our guys started picking away. I was very pleased with the effort overall."
He noted that the difference in the game was two things. First, was the tough foul shooting, including six misses in the third quarter. Second was the fact that the kids rushed it at times when they didn't need to.
"That led to easy baskets for them," Coté said. "They did a nice job of turning turnovers into transition baskets."
The Eagle coach said in hindsight, he may have used another timeout in the final seconds of play, but noted all in all, he was proud of his kids.
"I am proud of the kids for fighting back," he said.
For the game, Meyers led all scorers with 21 points, while McKenzie added 19 and Tetreault netted 10 for the Knights. Starkey led Kennett with 16 points, while Stocker chipped in with 15.
Kingswood split the remainder of the week, dropping a 52-49 decision at home to St. Thomas on Wednesday, Feb. 1, before knocking off Oyster River by a 60-51 score on Friday, Feb. 3.
The Knights will be on the road at Merrimack Valley on Friday, Feb. 10, for a 6:30 p.m. contest and will be at Coe-Brown on Tuesday, Feb. 14, for a 7 p.m. game.
The Eagles dropped a 57-35 decision on the road at Hanover on Saturday afternoon.
Kennett will be at Portsmouth on Friday, Feb. 10, and will be hosting Oyster River on Tuesday, Feb. 14, with both games set for 6:30 p.m. starts.
The Kennett JV boys squeaked out a 47-42 win over the Knights on Jan. 30. Dylan Thurston led Kennett with 12 points, while Ben Cashman had 12 and Adam Szewczyk added 10 for Kingswood.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126