Friday, December 6, 2013
GORHAM — It's not the winning or losing that matters so much in high school holiday tournaments. It's simply getting a chance to play different opponents.
So it went Tuesday night in the final game of the two-day, 11-team girls' basketball tournament at Gorham High.
Gorham beat Waynflete 53-36, but it was a meeting of Class A and Class C teams that meant the most.
''It's a change-up for the kids,'' Waynflete Coach Brandon Salway said. ''You get to see teams that don't know you as well.''
Gorham came out running, taking quick control with two 3-pointers and several transition baskets.
Morgan Woodhouse finished with a game-high 24 points, including 18 of Waynflete's 19 first-half points.
''You get a chance to see other teams and other coaches that you read about in the paper,'' Gorham Coach Laughn Berthiaume said. ''For us, getting a chance to play against Woodhouse is great. I think she's excellent. ''
Berthiaume also said he was impressed with Waynflete freshman Martha Veroneau, who controlled the ball with poise and handled pressure.
Gorham opened a 12-point lead by the end of the third period and kept command.
''I feel like it toughened us up a bit,'' said Salway. ''Either you toughen up here or you're going to get drilled. It's their home court, they shot the ball really well, but I thought we handled ourselves pretty well.
''You want to get something out of these games and I feel like it showed us how hard you need to play.''
The Rams were led by Mia Rapolla with 18 points, Natalie Egbert with 11, including three 3-pointers, and Kristi Brown had eight.
Berthiaume, who organized the tournament, said he made an effort to pit teams from different areas and classes. He also said Class A players aren't always superior.
''(Waynflete's) top-notch players could play on any Class A team,'' he said. ''The difference between Class A and C is depth, not skill.''
Another benefit of the low-pressure atmosphere is allowing coaches to play everyone.
''(Kiersten Turner), who is actually my starting point guard, was on the (junior varsity) until last year's Christmas tournament,'' Berthiaume said. ''At the Christmas tournament she became my varsity starting point guard.''
Waynflete will look to improve on its 3-2 record when it returns to its regular-season schedule Jan. 5 against Traip Academy.
Gorham, which holds a 3-4 record after winning two straight before the holiday break, will return to the regular season Saturday at home against Bonny Eagle.
''We've got a string of games that are going to be real competitive,'' Berthiaume said. ''We had some tough teams early but I think we're headed in the right direction.''