Monadnock’s Grace LeClair drives to the basket during Wednesday’s win over Mascenic in Swanzey.

SWANZEY — Boosted by a 23-point first quarter, the Monadnock girls basketball team cruised by Mascenic Wednesday, 54-23, in Swanzey.

The game gave the Huskies an opportunity to dig deep into their bench, with everyone logging minutes throughout the night.

“Ultimately, we’re never going to get where we want to get if we don’t have more than five or six players on the court,” said Monadnock head coach Rob Skrocki. “So tonight was a chance for us to get everyone in, put pressure on everyone. That’s ultimately how we’re going to grow the program.”

Grace LeClair led the way for Monadnock with 15 points, nine of which came in the first quarter. She hit three three-pointers in the last few minutes of that frame.

“Honestly, I was kind of shocked,” LeClair said, adding that her warm-up shots were coming up short. “I made the first one, I was like, ‘Oh, OK.’ Then I made the second and I was like, ‘Woah.’ And then I made the third one and I was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I just made three in a row.’

“But I really have to thank all my teammates because they’re the ones who set me up for those open looks,” LeClair said. “It just felt really good to get another win.”

But it wasn’t just her offense that made an impact on the game.

“Defensively, [LeClair] brought the physicality that can’t be matched,” Skrocki said. “And, wow, what a first quarter. I’ll take that every night.”

Bree Lawrence added nine. Grace Furze and Quinn Underwood each finished with seven.

Underwood was a starter for the Huskies Wednesday.

“Quinn came out and scored some baskets tonight,” Skrocki said. “She had some nice, back-cut, driving points.”

Mea Carroll-Clough had six, all in the first quarter.

The Huskies (2-5) were in front 23-4 after the first quarter.

Even with the early lead, the girls continued to give 100 percent. Late in the second period, Furze and Lawrence each created turnovers — a common occurrence for the Huskies in this one — making aggressive moves to the basket on the other end and creating some offense.

“Overall, just a great defensive effort from everyone,” Skrocki said.

And that includes the players who might not have been lighting up the scoreboard.

“We don’t need everyone on the team to be able to drop 20,” Skrocki said. “We need everyone to go out there and play competitive defense at a high level.”

Monadnock had a 32-9 advantage at the half and never looked back from there.

There were some new faces in the starting five for the Huskies, with Trista Faulker, Emma Toscano and Underwood all getting the starts.

“It was a good chance to get everyone in the game,” LeClair said. “I think it was a really great learning experience, especially for the younger girls.

“We want everybody to be comfortable on the court, no matter who they’re with,” she added.

And they sure looked comfortable Wednesday.

“I was really happy with the first-quarter explosion that we had,” Skrocki said. “The girls came out hot. Almost to the point where we had to slow it down a little bit, which is tough for a team that has struggled to score over the last couple weeks.

“But this year it’s so hard to get those practice reps for everyone, so to see what they can bring to the table on the court in a game pressure situation was nice,” he added.

The Huskies visit Mascenic for the second game of the home-and-home series Saturday at 1:30 p.m. It’ll be their third-to-last regular season game.

{div class=”asset-tagline text-muted”}Chris Detwiler can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1411, or cdetwiler@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris — Detwiler.{/div}