Saturday, March 8, 2014
By Mike Lowe email@example.com
The girls’ basketball players at Wells High obviously have long memories. Back in the preseason, the Warriors lost a close game to Spruce Mountain.
Vanesa Barnes, left, of Spruce Mountain and Stephanie Woods of Wells dive for a loose ball Thursday during their Western Class B girls’ basketball semifinal at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Wells eliminated Spruce Mountain for the second straight year, 55-31.
John Ewing/Staff Photographer
Thursday afternoon, with the stakes much higher, the Warriors weren’t going to let that happen again.
“Different team,’’ said Sophie Lamb, a senior center.
With a relentless defense disrupting everything Spruce Mountain wanted to do, third-seeded Wells rolled to a 55-31 victory over the second-seeded Phoenix in a Western Class B girls’ basketball semifinal at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The Warriors gave up the game’s first basket, then rolled off nine consecutive points to take control.
“We’ve been doing it with our defense,’’ said Wells Coach Don Abbott. “We got some stops. And when we get stops, we can run. And when we can run, we can be pretty dangerous in the open court.’’
The Warriors (18-2) will play top-seeded Lake Region in the regional final at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Civic Center. Spruce Mountain (19-1) was eliminated by the Warriors for the second year in a row. In fact, the Warriors are the only team to beat Spruce Mountain the last two years.
“A veteran group like that,’’ said Spruce Mountain Coach Gavin Kane, “I said early in the year they could be the team to win it all. That’s a tough group. Defensively we threw everything but the kitchen sink at them and they handled it all.’’
But it was Wells’ defense that was most impressive. “We were concerned about their inside presence,’’ said Abbott. “We bumped the cutters, taking them off their path a little bit. It seemed like we were able to take them out of their normal flow of what they like to do.’’
Alison Furness led Wells with 21 points. Her perfectly-swished 3-pointer - “I didn’t think it was going in,’’ she said - gave the Warriors the lead a 3-2 just 45 seconds into the game. Lamb followed with a fast-break offensive rebound, Nicole Moody scored a layup off a steal, and Furness hit two foul shots for a 9-2 lead that would only balloon. Wells led 15-8 after one quarter, 32-13 at the half and 50-15 entering the fourth.
“We came here with one goal, (win the Western Maine title) and then go to states,’’ said Lamb, who scored six of her eight points in the first quarter. “And we’re not going to stop. We just need to keep energized.’’
Furness, Lamb and Jordan Agger controlled the inside, guards Moody and Stephanie Woods harasses the Phoenix ballhandlers.
“We did a lot of talking,’’ said Furness. “We stayed on our feet and were moving well. When we’re in sync, it really works out really well. And that happened tonight.’’
Everything worked for the Warriors. Agger had only four points but provided several pinpoint passes that led to baskets, especially in the second quarter when the Warriors began to pull away.
Furness, regarded as one of the state’s top players, put on a dominating performance. She scored inside, hit three 3-pointers and handled the ball at times against the Phoenix pressure.
“She is a pretty complete player and she’s worked pretty hard to become a complete player,’’ said Abbott. “She spent a lot of time in the gym.’’
Mike Lowe can be reached at 791-6422 or at: