Saturday, March 8, 2014
From staff reports
Dustin Cole and Ben Malloy were the key holdovers from Bonny Eagle’s run to the Western Class A boys’ basketball final last season, but where would the Scots be without the additions of Nate Alexander and Jon Woods? Probably not 13-1 and ranked No. 3 in Western Maine.
Alexander, the team’s tallest starter at 6-foot-3, transferred from Edward Little. He gives the Scots another double-figure scorer and is their top rebounder.
Alexander has become deadly from 3-point range. He hit three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points Friday night in an 88-52 win over Thornton Academy. Alexander started out slowly from beyond the arc but has steadily improved – so much that opponents have to be concerned with him, along with Cole, Malloy and Nick Dubay.
As Coach Phil Bourassa said earlier in the season: “We love Nate Alexander. He’s at his best in crunch time.”
Woods, who played for Gorham last year, isn’t a scorer, but he’s capable of tossing in a few points here and there. In the first half against Thornton Academy, he made as pretty a reverse driving layup as you’ll see.
The 6-foot Woods is a high energy guy who plays tight defense, is strong in the full-court press and gets up and down the court.
Woods was a catalyst on Bonny Eagle’s Class A state championship football team as a halfback/defensive back. His running on the final drive against Cheverus in the state final keyed the Scots’ win. He was named to the Maine Sunday Telegram all-state football team at running back.
Alexander and Woods bring two different styles and games to the court, but both have been important cogs to the team’s success and will be needed the rest of the way if the Scots hope to finally break through and win a Western Maine title.
BILL GOODMAN called McAuley’s 79-47 win Friday against Portland a “playoff game,” for his team.
Perhaps that’s a bit of an overstatement. At 13-1 and ranked No. 1 in Western Class A, the three-time defending state champions are in no danger of being left out of the tournament. But Goodman said playing Portland at the Expo was the type of game he wanted his team to have.
McAuley’s only other appearance at the Expo this season was a holiday tournament loss to defending New Hampshire Division I champion Bedford, in which the Lions’ two NCAA Division I-bound stars, Allie Clement and Olivia Smith, did not play.
“Tonight was a playoff game. It was very important. We were playing a top opponent on their home court and they have a lot of kids who can score,” Goodman said.
Portland did have 11 players factor into the scoring, but none cracked double digits. Meanwhile, McAuley’s standouts did just that: stand out.
Clement and Victoria Lux each had 16 points, senior Jackie Welch scored 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting, and Smith dominated the defensive interior with eight blocks – six in the first nine minutes.
In addition, Olivia Dalphonse (nine rebounds) continued to show how integral she is to this team with her defense and ability to help run the offense, whether Clement is on the court or the bench. Add in the edgy toughness (and an increasingly effective midrange jumper) that junior Ayla Tartre brings off the bench, and McAuley is clearly back to team-to-beat status.
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