Olson hits buzzer-beat for KHS win

By Lloyd Jones

CONWAY — Freshman Justin Olson knocked down a 15-foot jumper from the left baseline as time expired to give the Kennett High boys' basketball team a thrilling 73-72 overtime victory over Pembroke at the Nest on Tuesday night.

"He's playing beyond his years," said Jack Loynd, Eagles' head coach. "Justin's a freshman who we call rookie, but he didn't look like it Tuesday. He can shoot. He played the better part of the last quarter and a half."

The win lifted the Eagles to 2-10 in Division II play, while the loss dropped the Spartans to 6-7 on the season.

"We really played well," Loynd said. "It was a great team effort. Pembroke is good club. They beat (8-4) Pelham (72-64 on Feb. 10). They have this kid, (Jake) Sherman, who you see in warmups and he doesn't look like anything special, but boy can he shoot. He had 24 (points), and we contested every shot. They have three legitimate scorers."

The Eagles and Spartans were deadlocked at 65 at the end of regulation time. In the extra session, the visitors went on a 5-0 run in the first 25 seconds, but KHS didn't get rattled.

"I think that's where we grew up," Loynd said. "Pembroke was playing a delay and we were forced to chase the ball, which we did, but we never got rattled and created some turnovers."

Sophomore Colby Livingston hit a clutch three-pointer, and senior Patrick Cullen, who had a huge game with 22 points, knocked down a pair of free throws in the extra session.

Down one with eight seconds to play, junior Ryan Meader was able to create an opening to get the ball inside to Cullen, who immediately kicked it out to Olson, who tickled the twine and sent the hometown flock into a frenzy with the game-winner.

Loynd praised the play of Meader, who was in his second game back following a concussion.

"Ryan was great off the bench," he said. "The intent was for him to give the starters a rest, but I couldn't take him off the floor. He took the ball to the basket. He played well."

Meader finished the night with nine points, while fellow Eagle, Foster Piotrow, added 17 in the win.

"I'm really proud of my team," Loynd said. "They've grown up since the Berlin game when they played from behind with composure. (Laughing) I don't know how much watching the Patriots (Super Bowl comeback) helped, but it didn't hurt."

The Eagles now find themselves a game out of the playoff picture.

"We've got six games over the next 15 days," Loynd said. "The tournament would be great for the the experience, but I'm not thinking along those lines right now. It would be good if we do make it. These guys just love to play and compete. They're a good practice team, and I think that translated into the game on Tuesday. I was really happy with how we played."

Kennett is scheduled to close out the week at Timberlane (8-5) on Friday.


Arsenault powers Berlin past Kennett

By Lloyd Jones

CONWAY — Too much Myra Arsenault.

The talented Berlin High senior scored 21 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to give the Mountaineers a regular season sweep over Kennett High on Friday in a 51-41 victory at the Nest in Conway.

The win lifted Berlin to 11-5 in Division III play, while the Eagles slid to 3-10 in Division II.

Berlin earned season bragging rights after winning the first encounter between these two rivals 41-39 in Berlin on Jan. 27.

The Mountaineers jumped on the Eagles from the outset, taking arguably the largest home crowd of the season, out of the game almost immediately. Arsenault scored 10 points, including going a perfect 6-6 from the charity stripe to help Berlin to 16-6 lead after the opening eight minutes.

"We got off to a horrible start," said Larry Meader, Eagles' head coach. "We played with no energy, no desire, no heart. I wish I could put my finger on why we, did, but I can't. I don't know if was having a week off between games or losing Kelsey (Bush, team captain, sidelined with an ankle injury for the remainder of the season), or what, but I know we're capable of playing a lot better than this. Of the 51 points we allowed, 20 came off turnovers and 21 came off offensive rebounds."

"You've got to give Berlin credit, their girls played hard and outworked us," he continued. "The Arsenault girl killed us, especially on the boards. They had 19 offensive rebounds, while we only had 14 defensive rebounds, that's all about work and hustle."

Kennett went on a 7-2 to start the second quarter behind a Sam Johnson layup and five points from Giana Jones (a jumper, a reverse layup and a free throw) to pull within five, 18-13, with 5:06 remaining until halftime.

Berlin responded with an 11-0 run behind an Emily Theriault three-pointer; a runner by Arsenault; a layup by Joslyn Lanteigne; a Theriault jumper; and a pair of Arsenault free throws, to grow the lead to 29-13. At that point Arsenault was outscoring the Eagles by herself 14-13.

Liz Kenny stopped the Berlin run with the final basket of the half, cutting the deficit to 29-15 at the break..

The Eagles scored the first six points of the third quarter (a Jones layup; a runner in the lane by Izzy Wrobleski and a layup by Cassidy Chick) to close the gap to eight. KHS was able to get the lead down to seven twice in the third quarter, but Theriault banked in a shot and freshman Kaylee Peare his a key three-pointer to erase any hopes of a comeback.

While Arsenault finished with 21 points, Theriault added 14; Peare and Lanteigne each had six; Dallas Lacasse, three; and Kiara Law-As, one.

Jones led Kennett with 12 points. Wrobleski added eight; Kenny, six; Chick and Liz Cote, four; Maggie Bennett, three; and Johnson, two.

"Giana had a good night," Meader said. "She played hard."

Meader also praised the play of Chick, who led the Eagles in rebounding and had a strong second half.

Berlin is scheduled to close out the regular season this week with two contests, at White Mountains (8-7) on Tuesday, and then host St. Thomas (3-10) on Thursday (6 p.m.)

Kennett shuts out Knights for second straight time

By Lloyd Jones

CONWAY — The Kennett High ice hockey team shutout arch-rival Kingswood for the second time this season, beating the Knights 2-0 at Ham Ice Arena on Saturday afternoon in a penalty-filled contest.

Seventeen penalties were whistled in Saturday's game, compared to just two when the two sides met in Wolfeboro on Jan. 4. The Eagles won that game 6-0.

"It was a tough game to play from the standpoint that you really couldn't get any flow to game," Mike Lane, Eagles' head coach, said.

The win lifted Kennett to 12-1 on the season and into a statistical tie with Belmont-Gilford (12-1-1) atop the Division III standings.

Kingswood falls to 4-1-8 on the winter in Division II with the loss.

The Eagles outshot the Knights 33-16, but Kingswood goalie Joey Vetanze kept the contest scoreless into the third period by making a number of impressive saves.

"Vetanze was phenomenal for them," Lane said. "He really stood on his head and made some incredible saves to keep them in it."

Lane was pleased with the way his troops played.

"I thought we did a lot of things well," he said. "It was nice to have that level of play. I think we'd been missing it for a couple of weeks. This was a good rebound after the Berlin game (a 3-1 loss on Wednesday), where we didn't think we played our best. This was a good answer for us. We had a jump in our step and all three lines got involved."

Kennett nearly took the lead with 8:17 left in the first period. On the power-play, the Eagles got the puck to Colby Couture, who tried to go short-side on Vetanze, but the netminder thwarted the bid.

Vetanze rose to the occasion again at the 5:01 mark when he made a nice save on a shot by Connor Doucet. Doucet deeked a defender, went to his right and uncorked a blast that Vetanze made a glove save on.

The Eagles had two quality shorthanded efforts with under three minutes to play in the opening period. Caleb McPherson, who was all over the place, created a scoring opportunity out of nothing from behind the Kingswood goal that Vetanza somehow managed to keep from finding the back of the net.

"Caleb was all over the ice," Lane said. "He and Anthony Graziano both played well in front of the net. They were on top of their games, which was great to see."

Moments later Doucet shifted past two Knights and fired a low laser that Vetanza got a pad on.

The Knights had a five-on-three power-play late in the period, but goalie Johnny Biggio made a point-blank stop on Andy Contrada with 2:06 to play.

Thirty-five seconds later, Contrada beat Biggio over his shoulder, but one of Biggio's best friends, the crossbar, stopped the puck and kept the game scoreless.

The second period was packed with penalties. The Eagles spent more than half the period in the sin bin.

The Knights had a five-minute power-play, but were outshot 5-1 by the Eagles.

"Our penalty kill was real strong," Lane said. "I thought defensively we were solid. Our forwards did a nice job of coming back and getting involved."

Doucet and Couture were solid on the forecheck and helped create chances for Michael Seavey and Mackenzie Murphy.

Biggie stopped the lone shot by Erick Skelley on the power-play with a blocker save.

Vetanza made his save of the night with 4:03 left in the period when he stopped a streaking Seavey at point-blank range.

Kennett finally broke the deadlock with 11:06 to play when Doucet lit the lamp with assists to Murphy and Anthony Graziano.

The Eagles doubled their pleasure 90 seconds later when Graziano pounced on a rebound and made no mistake from close range. Doucet and McPherson picked up the assists.

The Knights best scoring chance of the third period came on a slapshot by Colby Clegg, but Biggio was equal to the task. Moments later he smothered a shot by Andy McMullen to preserve the shutout.

Kennett is scheduled to play its final regular season home game on Wednesday (6 p.m.), when Laconia-Winnisquam (0-12) comes to Ham Ice Arena. Prior to the game, the Eagles plan to honor seniors Tanner Brown, Leah Canavari and Anthony Graziano for their commitment and dedication to the program.

"Senior Night is always a fun night," Lane said. "These three have done their part for Kennett hockey and deserve to be recognized.

The Eagles are slated to close out the week on Saturday (5:30 p.m.) with a trip to Somersworth/Coe-Brown Northwood Academy (11-1-2).

KHS beat Somersworth/Coe Brown 4-3 in the season-opener in Conway.


Buzzell neets 20 on Senior Night win; Raiders get Marshwood in playoffs

By Lloyd Jones

FRYEBURG — The Fryeburg Academy girls' basketball team closed the book on the regular season in style on Friday night by recognizing this years prior to tipoff against Cape Elizabeth at Wadsworth Arena, and then sending them off in style with a 44-39 win.
Sunday, the Raiders (9-9) learned they're the No. 5 seeds in the upcoming Class A South playoffs, which begin this week. Fryeburg avoided a prelim game and will play a familiar foe, Marshwood (14-5), the No. 4, seed, in the quarterfinals on Monday, Feb. 20.
The Hawks beat Fryeburg in their lone encounter this winter, winning 39-31 in Fryeburg in December. It was a close contest throughout with Marshwood outscoring the Raiders 11-5 over the final eight minutes to leave town with the win.
"I like any matchup where we avoid a prelim," said Sean Watson, Raiders' head coach, joking after the playoff pairings were announced. " In all seriousness, if we defend the way we can and get some transition baskets, I believe we can play with just about anyone.
"We played them the last game before winter break," he said. "It seems like a long time ago. I guess playing them earlier takes some of the surprise out of the game, but nowadays most coaches willingly share video with each other so each staff should have at least a little idea of what the other team likes to do. We have some video of Marshwood and I'm sure Coach Freeman has video of us."
Fundamentals will be the key to the matchup, according to Watson.
"It will be important for us to limit half-court turnovers," he said. "When you turn it over in the half court that creates fast breaks for the opposition. We want to avoid that if we can. We will need to rebound from all five spots. We need to continue to have good ball movement and good player movement on the offensive end. We also need to end defensive stops with a secured rebound and good outlet passes. We want to be aggressive and get the ball to rim. In an 18-game regular season we went to the line 345 times. That's just over 19 times a game. If you get to the line that many times a game, your kids are being aggressive with the ball."
On Friday, the Raiders recognized seniors seniors Mackenzie Buzzell, Kaylin Delaney, Makayla Cooper, Nicole Bennett, Ali Fraize and Alyssa Allen for their commitment and dedication to the program over the past four years.
"Those seniors are a great bunch," Watosn said. "It is a great collection of kids. We have some seniors that have started since their freshmen year. Some that have played on the varsity since their sophomore year. Some that have just started getting varsity minutes this year. I am really happy how they have all pulled in the same direction this year. I have always felt that some of these seniors have been a bit overlooked during their careers. They have a special toughness and grit about them that is hard to describe. I love coaching them. I'm really hoping their postseason experience will be a good one."
Cape Elizabeth came to town sporting a a 1-17 record, but it was a misleading mark.
"We played pretty well on Senior Night versus Cape," Watson said. "Cape really improved from the start of the season. They beat a very good Falmouth (7-11) team (42-34 on Feb. 8)) the game prior to our game. Our kids did a nice job of handling the emotions of Senior Night. It was game throughout and the kids handled the pressure extremely well."
Fryeburg led 12-11 at the end of the first quarter. Cape outscored the Raiders 11-10 in the second frame to knot the contest at 22-22 at halftime.
Fryeburg was able to take the lead for good in the third quarter by outscoring their visitors 12-7 to lead 34-29 heading into the final eight minutes.
Cape had no answer for Buzzell, who finished with a game-high 20 points. She did a great job of getting to the charity stripe, where she knocked down 11 free throws.
"Mackenzie did play well, but she has played well all season," Watson said. "She doesn't do a little bit of everything, she does a whole lot of everything."
Ali Fraize had nine points for the Raiders, while Kaylee Emery added six, Delaney, four, Allen, three; and Bennett, two.