PORTLAND — They are called the Flyers for a reason.
Martha Veroneau scored 19 points, all in the first half, as Waynflete opened with a 14-0 run and went on to win easily over Old Orchard Beach, 59-32, in a Class C Western Maine Conference girls’ basketball game on Friday night.
“We came out with great energy and intensity in the first half, especially defensively,” Waynflete Coach Brandon Salway said. “We actually wore ourselves down a little bit in the second half. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a good start.”
Outside shooting and pressure defense pushed Waynflete ahead early, as the Flyers opened with four 3-pointers, two by Veroneau, before she hit a jumper from the key to take a 14-0 lead with 4:06 left in the first quarter. The Flyers led 38-8 at the half.
The Flyers’ defense was keyed by scrappy play, notably by Leigh Fernandez (10 points, 4 steals) and Julianna Harwood (10 points, 10 rebounds, 4 steals) and Rhiannan Jackson (11 points, 8 rebounds).
“Leigh, in particular, was outstanding defensively for us,” Salway said.
“We’re better than we played, but to their credit, they forced the tempo and we bought into it,” said Old Orchard Coach Dean Plante. “We went 3 for 23 in the first half. You’re not staying with Waynflete going 3 for 23.”
It was also a reunion for the Veroneau sisters. Catherine, Martha’s twin, scored 2 points in her return from knee surgery.
“For Catherine to be out there after two (knee surgeries) alone is a tremendous feat,” Salway said. “But to play with the intensity she plays with is a testament to her character.”
The moment was not lost on Martha.
“We were so pumped to get started,” said Veroneau, who had five of Waynflete’s 11 3-pointers. Playing with Catherine, she said, “is definitely something I was looking forward to. It’s so nice to have her out there, and also Anne.”
Anne Veroneau, a freshman, logged her first varsity minutes and points, going 3 for 3 from the foul line in the first quarter.
Haley Plante led the Seagulls with 9 points, all on 3-pointers, and Anna Foss and Olivia Dubois each added six. Dubois also faced the challenge of defending Martha Veroneau, who did not shoot during limited action in the second half.
The Flyers’ fatigue and the Seagulls’ intensity left the teams even in scoring in the third quarter at eight points each, and Old Orchard outscored Waynflete in the fourth quarter, 16-13.
“Even Martha says, we’re all one team, and we all work together,” Jackson said. “We all can score. We just keep working the ball around and the open player shoots it.”
Jackson and Fernandez each had five second-half points for the Flyers.
“The plan is to play up-tempo the entire game, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Salway said. “Sometimes we’ll have droughts, we’re hoping the spurts will make up for the droughts.”
The Seagulls intend to find ways to limit the Flyers’ spurts before their rematch January 8 in Old Orchard Beach.
Said Plante: “I thought in the second half we were a lot more aggressive and our kids kept fighting. Trust me, January 8, we’ll show up.”