CONWAY — The Kennett High girls’ basketball team played its best hoop of the season last week to pick up two more victories. The Eagles put the defensive clamps on high-scoring visiting Bishop Brady, winning a 58-55 thriller at the Peter Ames Gymnasium on Wednesday, and bottled up the Blue Knights of Manchester West 33-20 on the road on Friday.
Kennett, which is riding a six-game win streak, improved to 7-2 in Division II with the victories.
Fans were treated to a dynamite game when Bishop Brady (4-4) came to town. The Giants, who love to play up-tempo and try to get their opponents into a track meet, saw their possessions limited as Kennett protected the basketball and resisted the temptation to run.
“It was an awesome game to win,” said Larry Meader, Eagles’ head coach. “The girls executed the game plan almost to perfection, especially in the first half. Brady likes to run and shoot the first three-pointer they get. We did a great job of limiting their second and third scoring opportunities. If we had an easy fast-break we took it otherwise we tried to limit (Brady’s) possessions. To hold a team like that to just 17 points in the first half was impressive.”
Kennett jumped out to a 14-9 lead after the opening eight minutes, with Liz Cote scoring seven points and Sydnie Chin adding five. Both knocked down three-pointers.
The Giants got within four points twice in the second quarter, but Cote extended the lead to 26-17 at the half by scoring the final six points of the period.
Bishop Brady was able to ramp up its offense in the third quarter outscoring Kennett 23-15 to pull within a point, 41-40, heading into the fourth frame.
Ami Rivera gave the girls from Concord the lead at 43-41 when she hit a three-pointer with 6:36 to play.
The Eagles answered with an 11-point run — an Ella Chandler jump shot; a Cote hoop and a free-throw; and back-to-back Chin three-pointers 23 seconds apart from both sides of the court — to reclaim the lead it never relinquished with 3:42 to play.
“Sydnie is a really good shooter,” Meader said. “Her back-to-back threes were huge — she can be that sort of scorer for us.”
He added: “We had some kids step up at the right time. (Brady) went to a triangle-and-two (defense) on Liz. I’d never seen that before. We know we’ve got to win games as a team and not be afraid of the moment. This was as good a team win as we’ve had in a while.”
Things got a little tense down the stretch, especially when Cote went down with an ankle injury that forced her to miss the final 2:43.
Brady was able to pull within two, but Sierra Parsons sank a foul shot with 5.2 seconds to play to put the Eagles up by three.
Rivera had a three-point shot at the buzzer that fell short of the basket.
Cote finished with a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds. Parsons added 12 points; Chin, 10; Olivia Scribner, seven; and Chandler, six.
In Manchester, the offense was difficult to come by for both teams early on. The Knights led 9-7 at the end of the opening quarter.
“They played a 2-3 zone that we didn't do well against," Meader said.
Kennett outscored its hosts 9-5 in the second period to lead 16-14 at the break and never trailed the rest of the night. KHS held West scoreless in the third quarter to lead 21-14 heading into the fourth.
“Our defense was smothering after the first quarter,” Meader said. “We gave up five points in the second quarter, zero in the third and six in the fourth but four of them were in the last 30 seconds.”
Cote led the Eagles with 13 points; Parsons added 10; Chin, three; Jaelin Cummings, three; Scribner, two; Mariah Parker, 1; and Emily Kenny, 1.
Parsons led the boarder patrol with nine rebounds; Cote added eight, and Chandler and Chin each grabbed five.
It’s a relatively quiet week for the Eagles who have just one game on the schedule — this Friday (6:30 p.m.) when Timberlane (1-4) comes to town.