February 12, 2013

Girls' Basketball Notebook: Prelim time -- let's get the tourney party started

By Mike Lowe mlowe@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

While many of us were digging out from the blizzard over the weekend, a select group of folks were doing a different kind of digging.

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Martha Veroneau

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Martha Veroneau, Waynflete, senior guard: Veroneau became the school's all-time leading scorer last week when she scored 29 points in a victory over Kents Hill. She later scored 18 in a win over Greater Portland Christian and 24 in a victory over Sacopee Valley. Entering the playoffs, Veroneau has 1,328 career points. She surpassed her sister, Margaret, who graduated in 2008 with 1,280 points.

HONORABLE MENTION

Sarah Clement, McAuley, freshman guard: Scored 25 points in two games to help the Lions complete a second consecutive undefeated regular season. She finished the regular season averaging 11 points.

Samantha Carey, Kennebunk, senior center: Scored nine points and grabbed 18 rebounds to help Kennebunk beat Biddeford. She will finish the season as the leading rebounder in the SMAA.

Nina Davenport, Freeport, junior forward: Scored 34 points in two games as the Falcons made a last jump in the Western Class B standings to finish eighth.

AREA TOP TEN

1. McAuley

2. Deering

3. Cheverus

4. Lake Region

5. Scarborough

6. Mr. Ararat

7. York

8. Oceanside

9. Waynflete

10. Gray-New Gloucester

They would be the girls' basketball coaches who have teams playing in the preliminary round of the upcoming regional tournaments, especially those who will be facing unfamiliar foes. And they were digging for information.

Like Waynflete's Brandon Salway, whose Flyers take on Carrabec in a Western Class C home game at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Or Marty Messer, whose Camden Hills squad plays Hermon in Eastern Class C at 6:30 p.m. Or Freeport's Jim Seavey, whose Falcons play Maranacook at home at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

"My plan was to scout them myself last (Thursday)," said Seavey, whose team won its final six games to vault into eighth place and earn a home-court game in the prelims.

"But our game was rescheduled (to Thursday) because of the storm. So I couldn't do it.

"So I reached out to my coaching friends who have seen or played Maranacook and go from there."

Waynflete's Salway was also making calls, as early as last Friday as the blizzard closed most schools.

"But I think, even more than that, you have to focus on yourself the next few days," he said. "We'll be tweaking a few things that I think we need to work on."

Such as?

"Well, we've played a lot of games lately," he said, referring to a schedule that saw the Flyers play three games in four days last week.

"We try to do a lot of work on our shooting technique. I'm looking forward to getting in the gym and refining that.

"The kids need practice. We always need to work on defensive rebounding. And, of course, running. We're always trying to push the ball as much as we can."

Camden Hills' Messer said he tried to anticipate the Windjammers' opponent. But, like Salway, he wants his players to concentrate on what they can do.

"I told the girls all along, we're going to prepare as best we can for whoever we play," he said. "We're going to be at home. And we hope to play our best basketball, starting Tuesday."

COUNT SALWAY is a coach who likes to play in the prelim. The Flyers (15-3) are the highest-seeded team (fourth) with a prelim game. "My kids are excited," he said. "Martha (Veroneau, the team's high-flying guard) said it's like having an extra game. I really feel we benefited from it last year when we finished seventh. It's keeps the competitive edge going."

A win over Carrabec (5-13) will get the Flyers to the Augusta Civic Center, where they've always had great success. Waynflete has advanced to the regional championship game each of the last two years.

"We hope to play there again," he said, noting that the team played two games there in a holiday tournament already. "We have some experience there. And the kids shoot really well there."

 

SOME VERY interesting matchups in the Western Class A prelims on Wednesday.

No. 8 Gorham will host No. 9 Windham, a team the Rams have defeated twice: 41-23 on Jan. 8 and 47-33 on Feb. 5. "I wouldn't choose to play a team three times," said Gorham Coach Laughn Berthiaume. "But we have a pretty good idea of what they're going to do, just as they have a pretty good idea of what we're going to do.

"It's going to come down to execution."

No. 10 Marshwood is at No. 7 Thornton Academy (a 41-30 winner over the Hawks on Jan. 8) and No. 11 Bonny Eagle plays at No. 6 Sanford (a 50-29 winner over the Scots on Dec. 7).

Marshwood presents a challenge to the Trojans. After starting 1-5, the Hawks finished with an 8-4 run.

"The schedule kind of had something to do with that," said Hawks Coach Lee Petrie, noting his team played the top four teams in Western Class A in the first six games of the season. "It hardened some of the kids, showed them what the next level of play is. Since then we've been playing well."

 

MCAULEY takes the top seeding into the Western Class A tournament, with good reason. The Lions beat their opponents by nearly 38 points a game this year.

Never was their defense more noticeable than in last Thursday's 53-11 win over South Portland -- the 11 points being the fewest allowed by the Lions this year.

Just nine days earlier, the Riots had scored 48 against the Lions -- the most points McAuley gave up in a game this year.

"After that, we really concentrated on defense," said McAuley Coach Bill Goodman.

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

mlowe@pressherald.com

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

 

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