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A matchup between Calverton and visiting Grace Christian Academy of Waldorf, two of the top teams in the Maryland Independent Schools Athletic League went back and forth, at least through the first half.

The Knights (13-3, 6-0 MISAL) scored the last seven points of the first half and the first 12 of the third quarter and went on to rout the Cougars (9-5, 3-3) 79-38 on Tuesday. The Calverton girls kicked off the doubleheader with a 62-10 thumping of a young Knights team.

Basketball box scores

Boys

Grace Christian 79, Calverton 38

Grace 20 21 20 18

Calverton 22 9 4 3

Grace: Kinyanjui 24, Dickson 11, Saunders 11, Roberson 9, Jones 6, Williams 5, Bumbrey 4, Brown 3, White 2, Thomas 2, Davis 2

Calverton: Rainier 13, Hubbard 7, Darden 5, Mass 4, Nwadike 3, Mazza 3, LaPlaca 3

Free throws: Grace 8-12 (White 2-2); Calverton 3-5 (Hubbard 1-1)

3-point goals: Grace 5 (Kinyanjui 3, Williams, Dickson); Calverton 7 (Rainier 3, Darden, Nwadike, Gao, Mazza)

Girls

Calverton 62, Grace Christian 10

Grace 5 3 0 2

Calverton 20 18 16 8

Grace: Bruce 8, Boland 2

Calverton: Moore 20, Fisher 10, Lerch 10, Chaney 8, Bouchard 6, Manning 4, Tabor 2, Horan 2

Free throws: Calverton 0-1 (Moore 0-1)

3-point goals: Grace 2 (Bruce 2)

The quickness of Grace’s boys combined with Calverton shooting 15 percent from the field in the second half enabled the Knights to outscore Calverton 38-7 over the final two quarters.

”I thought we did what we needed to the second half to pull away, so I’m pleased with the guys and the way they executed and we competed and that’s what we try to do,” Grace head coach Brian Deschaine said. “I thought we finished the half pretty strong and it put some distance between us.”

The two teams combined for five lead changes, four ties and 42 points in a wild first quarter, with Calverton holding a 22-20 lead going into the second quarter.

A 5-0 Knights run that put them ahead 34-28 in the latter stages of the first half forced Calverton head coach Rick Lagana to call a timeout and it appeared to work as Jon Mazza’s three-pointer pulled the Cougars to within three.

But Grace’s Jonathan Kinyanjui scored seven straight points within the last 1 minute 17 seconds of the half to put the Knights ahead 41-31 at halftime.

”Our coach was telling us to have intensity on defense and when we were doing that, I was able to fastbreak it and able to get some points,” said Kinyanjui, who finished with a game-high 24 points. “We knew we could beat them, but we weren’t playing good defense in the first quarter, so we needed to step up and start playing tough defense.”

Grace didn’t miss a step in the third quarter. It took the two teams more than three minutes of playing time in the third quarter before Preston Saunders’ layup, which started a 12-0 run that essentially doomed Calverton.

Eleven of 14 Knights reached the scoresheet with Saunders and Khori Dickson each scoring 11. Kinyanjui also dropped in three of the Knights’ five three-pointers.

Calverton received a team-high 13 points from Cole Rainier, who came in off the bench. Josh Hubbard added seven points and a team-high seven rebounds. Rainier also added a trio of three-pointers.

“Grace played a beautiful game,” said Lagana, whose team saw its two-game win streak snapped.

Grace’s starters outscored Calverton’s starters 55-11 and the Cougars committed 26 turnovers.

”It’s always our game plan to take advantage of mistakes from the other team and I think our defensive mindset and pressure helped,” Deschaine said.

Deschaine was then asked if his team is playing close to how it needs to with the start of the playoffs not in the too distant future.

”Oh boy, are we getting close? I tell people we’re a work in progress,” he said. “I feel we’re getting better on a consistent basis, but we’re not where I envisioned us, so I wouldn’t say we’re there yet, but we’re headed in that direction.”

Moore than enough

Those pregame workout sessions are starting to pay off for Calverton’s Shannon Moore, who scored a game-high 20 points to help the host Cougars (8-6, 3-3) roll to a 62-10 win over the Knights on Tuesday.

Moore scored 18 of her points in the first half as the Cougars jumped out to a 38-8 lead by the intermission.

Before every game, Moore and her father rent space at the Wilson Ennis Clubhouse in Huntingtown to go over moves, practice free throws and other fundamentals in preparation for that night’s game.

The Cougars came out somewhat rusty to start the game but finally got into a groove about midway through the first quarter.

“We tend to get overly excited and then kind of break down and we stop doing what was originally working,” Moore said. “It takes a minute for us to really collect ourselves and get back to what we were doing so our heads are moving faster than our bodies are and it turns into mistakes.”

Calverton head coach Savannah Webb agreed with her senior’s assessment.

“For the most part, yeah, I wasn’t pleased with the sloppiness in the beginning because we have to start games much better, especially late in the season and in the playoffs,” she said. “We’re almost there [in terms of being ready for the playoffs], but not quite there because starting off slow hurts.

Katie Lerch and Olivia Fisher each added 10 points and Morgan Chaney scored eight. Moore also had the game’s only free throw.

Melody Arrington had a team-high eight rebounds and Moore and Fisher each added seven.

Kelly Bruce had two three-pointers and scored eight points for the Knights (3-9, 0-7). Samantha Boland had the other two points when she made a layup with four seconds left in the game.

”Too many turnovers and we didn’t rebound or box out,” Grace head coach Keith O’Kelly said. “Again, we’re an extremely young team and we have some players who are playing for the first time and they’re still trying to learn the game of basketball, so we want to continue to improve on rebounding, boxing out and keeping those turnovers down.”

The Knights were missing their starting point guard (concussion) and center (arm), but O’Kelly said he hopes to have them back by the end of the week.

The Cougars have their highest point totals of the season in their last two games — 62 against Grace and 46 in a win over King’s Christian Academy last Friday.

mreid@somdnews.com