BANGOR – If the Bangor Auditorium needed one more memory on its final night of high school basketball championships, Martha Veroneau of Waynflete provided it.
Veroneau scored her team’s final 16 points to rally the Flyers past previously unbeaten Calais, winning the Class C girls’ basketball championship with a 59-55 victory Saturday night.
Veroneau had 19 points in the final quarter, 34 overall, as Waynflete overcame a 14-point third-quarter deficit.
“We needed her to do that,” said Coach Brandon Salway. “We were waiting for it. If she didn’t start playing like Martha, we were not going to win.”
Because she did, Waynflete (20-3) won a state championship for the first time since 2003, when it was in Class D.
Calais (21-1) was in its 10th state title game.
Calais led 44-36 entering the final quarter, but succumbed to Waynflete’s continuous defensive harassment and Veroneau’s offensive excellence.
The Flyers got out quickly in the fourth, Rhiannan Jackson hitting a foul shot and Veroneau a 3-pointer. Then Jackson, who had 17 points and 10 rebounds, made a steal and ran down court. She missed the layup and two subsequent follows but kept at the boards, got another rebound and scored while being fouled. She hit the foul shot, and suddenly it was 44-43.
“That was a huge play,” said Salway. “It got us going.”
She would be the last Flyer other than Martha Veroneau to score.
Veroneau’s 3-pointer with 4:10 left gave the Flyers a 46-44 lead. Paige Gillespie of Calais countered with two inside baskets.
Veroneau then hit two foul shots, a drive and a pull-up jumper to make it 52-48 Waynflete with 1:46 left.
After two foul shots by Maddy McVicar of Calais, Veroneau made two. Then she got a defensive rebound, was fouled and sank one free throw.
Calais got within 57-55 on a long 3-pointer by McVicar, but Veroneau hit two foul shots with one-tenth of a second left.
“She’s tough, a good player,” said Calais Coach Dana Redding. “We knew that coming in. I thought we did a good job on her early, but late in the game she was as good as anyone we’ve seen this year.”
Her sister, Catherine, who had 13 rebounds in the second half, wasn’t surprised.
“It’s amazing but not surprising,” she said. “She’s an amazing player.”
Martha Veroneau insisted the credit should go to her teammates for setting screens, making passes and coming up with rebounds.
“It was a total team effort,” she said. “We worked hard for this.”
And the Flyers had to work very hard. Calais dominated the first half, controlling the inside with Gillespie, Taylorae Carter and Sierra Young.
The Blue Devils continually broke Waynflete’s press and got easy baskets, leading to a 34-22 halftime advantage.
“Honestly,” said Salway, “we weren’t very good in the first half.”
Catherine Veroneau said the Flyers knew they had to step it up in the final two quarters.
“We just refocused our efforts to work harder on the defensive end to get our offense started,” she said.
Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: