SOUTH PORTLAND – It wasn’t a thing of beauty, but the Windham girls basketball team will take it.

The Eagles ran their season record to 2-0 at South Portland Tuesday night, building a 25-12 halftime lead over the Red Riots (1-1) to hold on for a 42-35 win. Both sides had trouble hitting shots throughout the contest and Windham allowed South Portland a bunch of second chances on offense in the second half, fortunately for the Eagles, South Portland wasn’t able to take advantage of those opportunities to make a run at the Eagles.

Meghan Gribbin was the offensive leader for the Eagles in the contest, pouring in 17 points, with the bulk of those points coming in the first half where Windham dominated most of the play.

Abby Hasson was the leading scorer for the Red Riots with nine points.

The game started off well enough for the Eagles as the ran off to a quick 7-1 lead before forcing South Portland to call a time out halfway through the first quarter to settle things down. In fact, South Portland didn’t hit a field goal until there was just 2:40 left in the quarter, but then got a mini-run going to close out the first eight minutes down 15-8.

The sloppy play continued into the second quarter as it seemed neither team could get anything going on offense on a consistent basis. Finally, with 3:30 to go before the halftime break, Gribbin came up with a huge steal, feeding the ball to Olivia Hurd (who finished with five points on the night) for an open layup that gave the Eagles a 22-9 lead.

As the teams went into the halftime break with Windham up 25-12, the Riots had reason to be optimistic about their chances in the second half. Windham was allowing the Riots to grab offensive rebounds, giving them second chances that the Riots were just unable to take advantage of. Gribbin was huge for the Eagles in the second quarter, accounting for half of her team’s 10 points, going 3-5 from the line and draining a big field goal to keep the Eagles in the lead.

The Riots started the third quarter determined to ratchet up the offensive pressure on the Eagles, employing a pressing zone defense that seemed to rattle Windham. The Riots forced a couple of turnovers, but as was the story all game, were unable to take advantage as Windham stayed out front.

Finally, with 5:30 left in the third, the Riots started to make up some ground. Danielle DiBiase (six points) hit a big shot to make it 27-17 and then after the Riots’ defense came up with a stop, Hasson nailed a jumper to cut the Eagle lead to 27-19.

Needing to seize back the momentum, Windham turned to Steph Frost, and she came through big time. With 2:34 left in the third, she got a big hoop to push the Eagle lead to 29-19, then after the Eagles stopped South Portland, Gribbin got the ball quickly out to Frost and she drove for a layup to give Windham a 31-19 lead.

South Portland kept battling as the quarter came to a close. With 48 seconds left, Danica Gleason hit a huge 3 from the top of the key to make it 31-24 and seconds later, DiBiase came up with a steal for the Riots and drove for what appeared to be an open layup, but Gribbin came out of nowhere for a huge block, knocking the ball out of bounds. South Portland kept possession of the ball and Brianne Maloney hit to make the score 31-26, which is how it stayed at the end of the third quarter.

Windham appeared to be frustrated by the Riots as the fourth quarter started. After Gribbin got a big hoop 50 seconds into the quarter to increase the Eagle lead, the Riots came right back with pressure that allowed them to cut the lead to 35-30 with five minutes to go.

Finally, with four minutes showing on the clock, the Eagles got a huge hoop when Bebe Butts (six points) banked in a 3-pointer to put Windham on top 38-30. That 3 seemed to give the Eagles the momentum push that they needed to hang on for the win as the Riots were unable to cut the lead in the final minutes.

After the game, Windham Head Coach Jessie Cummings said that she felt the Riots had keyed on Gribbin to stop her from taking over the game. She added that the players on both teams were quite familiar with each other, having played often in the offseason.

Cummings added that while it was still early in the season, and the Eagles still had things they needed to improve, she was glad to be leaving South Portland with a victory. “A win is a win,” she said.

Windham’s Meghan Gribbin keeps her eye on the rim as she drives to the basket in the first half of Windham’s 42-35 road win over South Portland Tuesday night.
Staff photo by Mike Higgins

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.