Tuesday, December 10, 2013
In talking to girls' basketball coaches before the tournaments began, they all stressed the importance of limiting turnovers. That was never more evident that in Camden Hills 55-39 upset of Oceanside in the Eastern Class B girls' basketball quarterfinals.
Oceanside, ranked second, had beaten Camden Hills twice in the regular season, the second time 63-38 on Feb. 7. In that game, the Windjammers committed 22 turnovers.
Eight days later, Camden Hills committed only 12 turnovers – a season-low according to Coach Marty Messer.
While Jordan Knowlton had her usual standout game – 23 points (10 for 11 at the foul line), 14 rebounds and four assists, Messer complimented the work of sophomore center Rachel Pease. Pease had 14 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots while guarding Oceanside's leading scorer, Kennadi Grover.
"Rachel is five or six inches taller than Kennadi and she really limited her offensive chances,'' said Messer, noting Grover scored only two points in the second half.
Now the seventh-ranked Windjammers face No. 3 Nokomis in Wednesday's semifinals. Nokomis beat Camden Hills 60-38 on Jan. 5. "We're hoping to turn another one around,'' said Messer.
BILL GOODMAN, the coach of top-ranked, unbeaten and two-time defending Class A state champ McAuley, said his team is taking nothing for granted. The Lions have dominated every opponent this year and have a great all-around game.
But Goodman knows anything can happen in a playoff.
"You're talking to the coach of the team (Greely) that went 0 for 17 in 3-pointers against York in the Western Maine finals one year,'' he said. "And then the next year had 11 turnovers in the first quarter to fall way behind. I'm speaking from experience.''
NO ONE in the Western Maine Conference was surprised that No. 11 Wells upset No. 6 Gray-New Gloucester in the Western Class B preliminary round, earning a spot to play No. 3 Spruce Mountain (18-0) in the quarterfinals.
The Warriors, who don't have a senior, were expected to be one of the contenders this year but struggled with consistency over the season. Now they're playing very well, led by forward Alison Furness.
"That team,'' said Cape Elizabeth Coach Chris Casterella, "that's the team that everyone expected to see all year.''
VarsityMaine The Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram put a priority on high school sports coverage, and this blog is a place for all our reporters to put news and notes from around the state.
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Paul Betit is an Augusta native and graduate of the University of Maine. He has covered Maine high school sports for more than 30 years and is entering his seventh season as a beat writer covering the Portland Pirates. In his spare time, Betit writes mystery-suspense novels. Occasionally, he tries to sink his second career hole-in-one.
Glenn Jordan came to Maine in 1994 to cover the nascent Portland Sea Dogs. After eight baseball seasons and three children – the last two within 18 minutes of each other – he became a part-time writer. Among the sports he covers are now are tennis, skiing, swimming and running. He has a degree in philosophy from Dartmouth, a decent forehand and a penchant for checkers.
Mike Lowe is a Massachusetts native who feels he's lived long enough in Maine (since 1982) to have roots here. He graduated from Boston University and has worked in New Hampshire and Maine, covering everything from the Little League World Series to the Summer Olympics. When he has free time – Ha! – he likes to read, collect comic books and watch the grass grow from his hammock.