Windham’s Haley Batchelder and the Thornton Academy girls’ basketball team felt the same way Monday at the Portland Expo – overwhelmed.
Batchelder was feeling joy and surprise; Thornton Academy was stunned by the sudden end of its season.
Batchelder’s basket with five seconds left gave the No. 7 Eagles a 34-32 upset of No. 2 Thornton Academy in a Western Class A quarterfinal.
“I wasn’t really thinking that I would end up shooting the game-winner,” Batchelder said. “I just felt overwhelmed.”
Batchelder scored eight of her 14 points in the fourth quarter, hitting hook shots with both hands as Windham (13-7) roared back from a 26-17 deficit.
Sadie Nelson also finished with 14 points, including a three-point play with 2:16 left that give the Eagles’ their first lead, 30-28, since early in the second quarter.
The winning play was designed with Nelson as the first option. When Thornton doubled Nelson off a pick-and-roll on the right wing, Batchelder flashed open.
“I knew they would think we’d want to get it to Nelson, but I wanted to get the ball to Batchelder,” Windham Coach Brody Artes said. “She had such a good game, it would be great to cap it off the way she did, and she came through.”
After Nelson’s three-point play, Thornton (16-3) tied it twice – on a putback by Olivia Shaw and two free throws by Abby Strickland (11 points) with 1:15 left.
Thornton had the ball with about 45 seconds left and a chance to play for a last shot. The Trojans had won several close games by making clutch plays, but a hurried shot by Katie McCrum was rebounded by Nelson with 25 seconds left.
“I’m just so sorry for these girls, the seniors, I just feel like I didn’t do the right things to put us in position to win,” Thornton Coach Eric Marston said. “I don’t feel like it’s real yet … we’ve won every close game we’ve been in, and I just thought we’d find a way somehow.”
Windham will play No. 6 Cheverus (13-6) in a regional semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Thornton ran off eight straight points to take a 26-15 lead late in the third quarter, with McCrum, Strickland and Howe all getting baskets.
Windham slapped on a full-court press that raised the tempo in the fourth quarter and got a nice jump-start when Luisa Sbardella hit an outside shot – a rarity for both teams.
Neither team made a 3-pointer.
Thornton led 15-9 at the half, thanks mainly to making 9 of 10 free throws in the second quarter.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: