January 28

High school girls’ basketball notebook: Lincoln Academy thriving despite losses to injuries

The Eagles lost three key players, but are near the top of the Western Class B standings.

By Steve Craig scraig@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Second-year Lincoln Academy girls’ basketball coach Kevin Feltis was confident his team could improve on its 8-10 record in 2012-13.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Tiana-Jo Carter, Lake Region, senior center: Always a dominant player in terms of defense and rebound-ing, the Lakers’ 6-foot-2 center scored 20 points with 11 rebounds as her top-ranked Class B team took a convincing 52-34 win over a strong Greely team. Also scored 14 points in 73-25 win against Kennebunk. 

HONORABLE MENTION

Morgan Fogg, Sanford, senior guard: Scored 22 points in a closely contested 43-37 win against Deering and 16 in a 51-38 win against Biddeford as the Spartans improved to 6-8 with a pair of important wins. 

Abby Dubois, Old Orchard Beach, junior forward: After torching Kents Hill for 29 points with a pair of 3-pointers, Dubois scored 17 in consecutive wins against Hebron and Waynflete, adding clinching free throws against the Flyers, as OOB went 3-0 in the week to improve to 9-5. 

Alex Goodman, Pine Tree Academy, eighth grade guard: Scored 29 points with nine steals in a 59-35 win against North Yarmouth Academy and also had 12 in a loss to unbeaten Forest Hills against constant double teaming and 21 against Hyde. Pine Tree of Freeport, 3-13 a year ago, is 10-3. 

AREA TOP 10

1. McAuley

2. Lake Region

3. Thornton Academy

4. South Portland

5. Gorham

6. Greely

7. Wells

8. Cheverus

9. Lincoln Academy

10. Portland

Then expected starter Hayden Campbell tore her ACL at the end of soccer season.

In the fifth game starting junior off guard Danielle Pinkham broke bones in her foot. In a holiday exhibition, junior forward Leslie Sandefur tore her ACL.

With a 3-2 record and three starters out for the year were Feltis’ high hopes dashed?

“Actually I’d say the contrary. We knew we were going to be a deep team,” Feltis said. “Not to downplay the importance of those kids (who were injured) but the kids really have accepted their new roles and stepped up.”

Lincoln Academy, a member of the KVAC, has won 10 straight after Monday’s 41-28 win over Medomak Valley and at 13-2 is in fourth place in the Western Class B standings behind expected powers Lake Region, Spruce Mountain and Wells.

Not bad for a team that didn’t win a game just two seasons ago.

“I was an assistant on that team,” Feltis said. “Last year we made some nice ground. It’s been a lot of hard work; a lot of kids buying in to what we’re trying to do; a lot of support from the parents, community and school.”

Feltis pointed to the team’s first win of 2014 as a turning point.

Trailing Gardiner 30-21 at halftime, Lincoln rallied in front of a large, supportive crowd for a 63-56 win.

In that game leading scorer and rebounder Jennifer Genthner (13.4 points, 10.6 rebounds), a 6-foot senior center, came up huge with 26 points and 10 rebounds but as has repeatedly been the case she had ample help.

Sophomore Barrett Campbell, Hayden’s twin sister, has become an effective outside scorer, averaging 2.2 3-pointers and 11.3 points.

Freshman point guard Bri Wajer is averaging 9.6 points, 7.2 assists and 5.4 steals. Last week she had 13 and 11 steals in wins against Leavitt and Mt. View.

“I coached Bri when she was a real little girl and I kind of knew, and a lot of people in the area knew, that she could lead a team,” Feltis said.

The team has also gotten key production from sophomore Alyx York, and 5-foot-1 power forward Taylor Oliver.

Lincoln’s success is drawing new faces to the gym in Newcastle.

“People know our conference is tough and I don’t think it took too long for word to spread and we’re starting to see coaches turning up in the stands scouting us,” Feltis said.

FRYEBURG ACADEMY (8-6) is another team making a surge in Western Class B, winning 6 of 7, including last week’s 51-40 upset of Wells.

Fryeburg has climbed to No. 9 in the Heal point standings. The top 10 make the tournament.

“We’ve done a really good job of being able to limit the other team’s leading scorer,” Coach Sean Watson said.

Unless that player is a true post like Lake Region’s Tiana-Jo Carter, the stopper job is shared by senior Sarah Welch and freshman Mackenzie Buzzell, who rotate intense 4-minute sequences focused on ball denial.

Fryeburg is also getting consistent offensive contributions from sophomores Julia Quinn and Alexis L’Heureux-Carland on the perimeter, giving senior center Skye Dole more room – and more success.

“After we won our fifth game Skye said, ‘if we win six that will be the most I’ve ever had,’” Watson said.

(Continued on page 2)

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