Kelly Johnson made the first start of her high school basketball career and scored 12 points to lead Bonny Eagle (3-3) to a 50-22 victory Friday over visiting Thornton Academy (0-4).

Johnson, an all-state field hockey player used to pressure situations, said her first hoop start was “intense” and that she was “nervous,” but the senior pulled through to help lead her team to victory.

Johnson’s presence on the court was first felt early in the game when she stole the ball from the Golden Trojans and drove the length of the floor for a lay-up that led to a Bonny Eagle 24-2 scoring run.

“Kelly is a senior and a leader,” said Scots coach Marc Sawyer. “She was a huge spark for the team.”

Of course, such a big win demands many good performances, as Sawyer noted.

“It was a team effort,” said the coach, “and I am really proud of my team for playing with a purpose.”

Juniors Meghan Ledoux and Lyndie Libby joined Johnson on defense, providing the pressure that helped pick apart the Thornton offense, forcing more than 20 turnovers in the contest.

“We knew that (Thornton) had a big girl underneath, and that we needed to pressure the guards to help our chances, and we succeeded,” Sawyer said.

At the end of the first quarter the hosts were ahead 18-2, and the score was 26-8 at the half.

Thornton sophomore Emma Morrison played with intensity throughout the night. With seven points and several steals, Morrison played like an upperclassman, active on defense and commanding on offense.

She scored the final three points of the first half with a lay-up and free throw from the line, finally showing some signs of life for the Trojans.

Bonny Eagle’s dominance continued into the second half as junior Kelsey Howes sank two free throws to spark another 10-point scoring run for the Scots.

But junior Melissa Small began to get Thornton’s offense into a rhythm when she slowed the Scots with a three-pointer in front of her bench that drew a big cheer from her teammates. The Trojans’ offense began to execute more effectively at that point, opening the fourth quarter by continuing a 10-2 scoring run.

Throughout the game, Johnson remained on the court, playing nearly every minute of the second half. She led the team in scoring and proved that she can shoot from behind the arc as well, hitting the first three-pointer in her career late in the fourth quarter.

Libby, who finished with 11 points, said it was “cool” to have Johnson on the court from the tip-off.

“She gave us an extra bit of spark,” the point guard said.

The Lady Scots travel to Scarborough (1-4) on Jan. 3 for their next regular season game, and three days later host Kennebunk (2-2).

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