Saturday, December 7, 2013
By Tom Chard email@example.com
PORTLAND — No. 11 Wells was just hoping to get into a preliminary-round game as the girls’ basketball regular season wound down. Once that goal was achieved, the Warriors thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could get to the Expo for the quarterfinals?”
Sophie Lamb of Wells pulls in an offensive rebound between Spruce Mountain's Samantha Richards, left, and Emily Keene.
Photos by John Ewing/Staff Photographer
Alison Furness of Wells take a shot during a Western Class B girls' basketball quarterfinal Tuesday against Spruce Mountain. Wells, the No. 11 seed, advanced with a 43-42 win over the previously undefeated Phoenix.
Now the Warriors will realize their wildest dream, playing on the Cumberland County Civic Center floor.
Wells, which beat No. 6 Gray-New Gloucester in the prelims to get to the Expo, pulled off another upset Tuesday, overcoming an early 12-point deficit to beat previously undefeated Spruce Mountain 43-42 in a Western Class B quarterfinal.
Wells (9-11) fell behind 12-0 against the third-seeded Phoenix (18-1) and trailed 19-7 after one quarter, then turned the game around.
The Warriors scored the last six points before halftime to climb back into contention, then took the lead for good by closing the third quarter with an 11-0 run.
Wells will play No. 2 York in the semifinals at 3 p.m. Thursday in the program’s first appearance at the Civic Center.
“We thought winning the prelim was huge,” said Wells Coach Don Abbott. “Now we think it’s a pretty big deal to get to the Civic Center. … We’ll be going against a familiar foe. We just hope Cindrella can keep dancing.”
Wells gradually whittled its deficit with strong offense, rebounding and defense.
The Warriors outscored Spruce Mountain 12-4 in the second quarter and 17-7 in the third.
Wells grabbed its first lead, 31-30, on a basket by Alison Furness, who cut through the lane and got a nice feed for a layup with two minutes left in the third quarter.
Kaitlyn Tufts hit a 3-pointer from the corner and Furness scored again inside on a pass from point guard Nicole Moody to make it 36-30 after three quarters.
Both offenses slowed in the fourth, but Wells had enough at the end to hold on despite going 2 of 6 from the foul line in the final minute.
Jordan Agger of Wells hit the second of two free throws with 8.9 seconds left. With Spruce Mountain needing a 3-pointer to tie, Emily Keene instead drove to the basket and missed under pressure. Samantha Richards scored a layup just before the buzzer.
Agger and Furness each finished with 11 points. Nicole Hamblin led the Phoenix with 12 points; Vanese Barnes added 10.
“Wells had more easy scores against us than any other team this season,” said Spruce Mountain Coach Gavin Kane. “I thought we were flat-footed on defense. We might have been surprised by their quickness off the dribble. I was disappointed by the way we played after the first quarter.”
The Phoenix grabbed a 12-0 lead in the opening minutes, going to the basket aggressively while Wells missed its first six shots.
Furness finally scored for Wells with a foul shot with 2:57 left in the first quarter.
But in the middle quarters, it was the Warriors who were aggressive to the basket.
“We were all pretty nervous at the start,” said Furness. “We were excited for the game. We just had to settle down on the big floor and before a big crowd. We spread our offense out and got some good looks.
“No one expects an 11th seed to beat a third seed because we’re so far down in the standings.”
After the opening quarter, Abbott told his team to chip away and focus on one possession at a time.
“Spruce Mountain had just played a fantastic first quarter. I’m not sure they had three more like that in them,” said Abbott.
“We got it back to a manageable score at the half. We played defense and rebounded, and that translated into some baskets at the other end. Credit the kids for settling down.”
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:
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Jordan Agger hits a free throw with 8.9 seconds left that gave Wells a three-point lead against Spruce Mountain. The Warriors went on to a 43-42 victory against an unbeaten team.