CONWAY — At full strength for the first game this season, the Kennett High girls’ basketball team needed roughly a quarter to shake off any rust on Tuesday night and then rolled to a 59-30 victory over Moultonborough Academy in the Peter Ames Gymnasium.
The win lifted the Eagles to 1-2 on the season in Division II. The Panthers fell to 2-1 in Division IV with the loss.
Coach Larry Meader welcomed back seniors Jaelin Cummings, Sierra Parsons and Maddie Stewart, who has all been in COVID-19 quarantine after a school cohort tested positive. Their return yielded 35 points and 16 rebounds for the hometown flock.
For Stewart, it was her first game action in two years after missing all of last season following knee surgery during field hockey. The All-State player was rock-solid and thrilled to be back on the hardwood.
“She looked good,” Meader said. “Her outside shot wasn’t clicking but she made up for that by taking the ball to the hoop.”
Kennett got off to a slow start, carrying a 7-6 lead into the second quarter.
“They had me sweating a little bit in the first quarter,” Meader said, laughing. “We looked a little rusty early but got better as the game went on. I think everyone’s energy level was up, they were excited to play, and that led to us really rushing and setting out of sync at times.”
Kennett slowly pulled away from the visiting Panthers, building the halftime lead to 23-11. The Eagles went on a 26-4 run between the third and fourth quarters to seal the win. Stewart sparked a 10-0 run with a drive to the hoop for two, followed by a steal and layup, while sophomore Sydnie Chin added a jumper and hit a runner in the lane and Parsons capped it with a steal and coast-to-coast layup.
“Defensively, we played well,” Meader said. “We did a nice job of limiting (Moultonborough) to just one shot on most of their possessions.”
Stewart led all scorers with 20 points and also was the top rebounder on the night with eight. Parsons added 11 points with six rebounds; Chin had seven points; Catherine Chick, four; Cummings, four; Sam Sidoti, three (five rebounds); Hope Elias, three; Sam Habert, two; Sydney Shaw, two; Mariah Parker, two; and Ella Chandler, one.
Just as it did in the fall, the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association, due to the coronavirus, is making this winter an open tournament, meaning everyone gets into the tournament regardless of their records. Teams are again expected to play in regional brackets.
The Eagles and Panthers are scheduled to close out a home-and-home series in Moultonborough on Thursday at 6 p.m. Visiting fans are not allowed at the game, but you can view the game via live-stream on the Moultonborough Academy Facebook page (facebook.com/moultonboroughacademy).