An 11th-seeded team beating a No. 3 team, as Wells did to previously unbeaten Spruce Mountain in a Western Class B girls’ quarterfinal Tuesday afternoon, may seem like a huge upset. But it’s not so much of an upset when you look at the respective leagues.
Spruce Mountain plays in the Mountain Valley Conference and faces mostly Class C teams during the regular season, while Wells (9-11) plays in the tough Western Maine Conference.
“We go against the likes of Lake Region, York and Greely two times each during the regular season,” said Wells Coach Don Abbott. “It’s like a war in the conference night in and night out.
“Spruce Mountain was known as a pressing team but we faced pressing teams all season.”
Wells advanced with a 43-42 win and will play a familiar foe, York, in the semifinals Thursday at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
AFTER WATCHING nearly every higher-seeded team have a slow start in the girls’ basketball quarterfinals at the Portland Expo, York Coach Rick Clark tried to get his team ready to play hard from the start.
But the Wildcats fell behind 11-2 against Cape Elizabeth, missing five shots and turning the ball over five times in their first 11 possessions. York eventually settled down and won 47-39 to advance to Thursday’s Western Class B semifinals.
Afterward, Clark said the higher seeded teams were at a disadvantage because of the amount of time since their last game. York hadn’t played since Feb. 8.
“If you play a prelim game and win it, in my mind, in that first quarter (of the quarterfinals) you have a leg up,” said Clark. “I’ve always felt this. We scrimmage one day but it’s not the same.
“I think we were very rusty. We had a lot of shots that first quarter (that went) in and out, in and out, in and out.”
OLD ORCHARD BEACH expects to have starter Haley Plante back for Thursday’s Western Class C semifinal against Madison. Plante, a sophomore and the daughter of Coach Dean Plante, has been out since rolling her ankle in the next-to-last game of the regular season Feb. 5. She played seven seconds at the end of the third quarter Tuesday against Monmouth Academy to run one particular play.
“She’ll be back Thursday,” Dean Plante said. “She made good strides the last three days so we said, dress for Tuesday. Probably in desperation we could have used her, but we felt we had some kids who matched up well with Monmouth.”
Plante said he didn’t think his team was rattled by Monmouth’s fourth-quarter surge that cut a 12-point lead to one.
“These (senior) girls have been in the tournament one way or another since they were sophomores. They weren’t excited to be here. They expected to be here. I was really quite confident that we’d do what we needed to do and that we were the better team. I really felt that.”