Thursday, December 5, 2013
By MARK JEANNERET, Special to the Press Herald
PORTLAND — When Meghan Gribbin saw an opening she exploited it. When she was being double-teamed, she withstood the extreme pressure and passed to an open teammate. And when she got to the line in key situations, she made the shots.
Meghan Gribbin drives the lane for a layup and two of her 26 points in Windham’s Western Class A quarterfinal win over Deering.
John Ewing/Staff Photographer
Deering’s Ella Ramonas puts up a shot after eluding Windham’s Stephanie Frost during their Western Class A quarterfinal, a 45-33 victory for Windham.
John Ewing/Staff Photographer
Gribbin, a senior guard, did just about everything Monday night as No. 5 Windham topped fourth-seeded Deering 45-33 in a Western Class A girls' basketball quarterfinal at the Portland Expo.
"There's a reason she's the SMAA Player of the Year," said Windham Coach Jessie Cummings after watching Gribbin score a game-high 26 points.
"She's a player and she showed it tonight. She hit down some key foul shots and she makes it difficult for teams to press us. She's a smart ball handler, sets up her teammates nicely and she does it on both ends of the floor."
The Eagles (15-4) now face No. 1 McAuley (19-0) in the regional semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Gribbin, the league leader in points and assists per game during the regular season, was obviously going to be a focal point for the Rams (14-5). But despite constant attention and harassment, Deering was unable to contain the explosive and opportunistic senior who was in search of her first high school postseason victory.
"Gribbin's the best player in the league and she dictated the whole pace of the game," said Deering Coach Mike Murphy. "You have to give her all kinds of props. She picked us apart. Whatever we threw at her she met the challenge and really came through for them."
Gribbin scored five points to help Windham to a 7-2 lead after one and added three more as the Eagles held a 14-6 halftime lead.
"We were upset because we only scored 14 points but we held them to six," said Gribbin, who was 7 for 8 from the line in the final three minutes of the game.
"We knew as long as our defense kept doing what it was doing our shots would eventually start falling and they did."
It wasn't difficult to understand why Deering had a difficult start after an emotional week. The Rams prepared and played with heavy hearts after Chelsea Saucier's father unexpected passed away earlier in the week.
Saucier played in the game and scored eight points in a losing effort.
"We had a tough week," said Murphy. "We had eight kids at practice for the majority of the week because of the death of Chelsea's father and sickness.
"I hate to use excuses but we looked so out of it."
Windham was without starting forward Lonnie Staten, who missed the game while on family vacation. Her return to future tournament action was unknown.