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Kearsarge girls’ basketball team hangs tough in loss to Conant

  • Anna Cahill of Kearsarge girls' basketball goes to shoot the ball in their game against  Conant High School. December 13, 2012<br/> (SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)

    Anna Cahill of Kearsarge girls' basketball goes to shoot the ball in their game against Conant High School. December 13, 2012
    (SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Eleanor Angus of Kearsarge girls' basketball attempts to pass the ball past Sarah Gonsalves of Conant High School. December 13, 2012.<br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)

    Eleanor Angus of Kearsarge girls' basketball attempts to pass the ball past Sarah Gonsalves of Conant High School. December 13, 2012.

    (SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Anna Cahill of Kearsarge girls' basketball goes to shoot the ball in their game against  Conant High School. December 13, 2012<br/> (SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)
  • Eleanor Angus of Kearsarge girls' basketball attempts to pass the ball past Sarah Gonsalves of Conant High School. December 13, 2012.<br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)

The Kearsarge girls’ basketball team is making strides in developing an identity, even though early-season results beg to differ. Kearsarge fell to 1-4 after a 59-49 home loss to Conant (4-1) last night, but the team continues to find positives in a roster that includes just three juniors as its elder leaders.

“It’s more experience for us,” Coach Kurt McCandless said. “It’s one game at a time. But the hustle and effort is there. They’ve been playing excellent as a team.”

The Cougars appeared to be on the upswing after a deflating 58-11 road loss to Bow just seven days ago. They defeated Stevens, 51-38, on Monday and came out strong again last night and took a 17-12 lead after the first quarter.

However, Kearsarge couldn’t hold on as the Orioles fed off Madison Springfield’s game-high 28 points. Conant reached halftime with a 23-19 lead after outscoring the Cougars 11-2 in the second quarter. Nonetheless, for a team lacking experienced leadership, first-year coach McCandless likes what he sees in his young squad.

“Everybody played well defensively. We’re growing each game,” he said.

Anna Cahill hit three 3-pointers and led the Cougars with 25 points. Sydney Bryk also had a strong showing with 11 points.

The Cougars looked poised to make a late run as they pulled to within six in the final quarter. However, 20 of Springfield’s 28 points came in the second half and essentially stifled any comeback Kearsarge had in mind.

For a team filled with more sophomores and freshmen any coach could ever be used to, McCandless eyes another opportunity to grow on Tuesday evening at Merrimack Valley.

“One game at a time,” he said. “Merrimack Valley is a good team and it will be a challenge. But we will play the defense we know we can.”

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Hopkinton 49,
Sanborn 39

The Hawks (3-2) moved above .500 thanks to a gritty victory over the visiting Indians (1-4). The Hawks shot just 22 percent from the floor but received key contributions from Brittany Marshall, whose 12 points helped Hopkinton overcome its shorthanded lineup. Callie Chase had seven points and Sloane White added six points in the win.

“A team can shoot really poorly,” Hopkinton Coach Dave Hughes said, “but defense will always win the game.”

Hopkinton darted out to a 12-4 advantage after one quarter, but Sanborn tightened things up at halftime, with the Hawks holding a 24-19 lead. Still, Hopkinton relied on its stingy defense and outscored the Indians 18-15 in the second half.

Hopkinton faces Bow on Tuesday.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

john stark-hopkinton 8,
Portsmouth 2

Robbie Ferguson and Jake Blanchette each netted hat tricks for a dominant win over the hosting Clippers (0-1) on Wednesday night.

Cooper Borque and Thomas Zervous provided excellent play on defense for John Stark-Hopkinton (1-0) as well.

bedford 6,
Coe-Brown-Somersworth 3

Austin Siering scored one goal with two assists in Wednesday night’s loss to the defending Division-II champions.

Colby Siering had two scores, including a power-play goal, and Timotej Jurenka had two assists for Coe-Brown-Somersworth.

Peter Robertson made 51 saves in goal as the Bulldogs (1-0) outshot the Bearcats (0-1) 57-16.

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