WINDHAM — With two of the top five defenses in the SMAA on display, Wednesday night’s Western Class A girls basketball prelim between 10th-seeded Sanford and No. 7 Windham was likely to be a low-scoring affair.

Low scoring is one thing, but no scoring is something completely different, and for large stretches on Wednesday, the Spartans simply couldn’t do what every team needs to do to win ”“ put the ball in the hoop.

Trailing 19-14 at the half, Sanford hit on just two of its 17 field goal attempts in the second half, and scored nine points in the final 16 minutes as the Eagles used their size inside to score just enough and pull away for a 35-23 victory.

Windham (12-7) moves on to face second-seeded Thornton Academy (16-2) at 3:30 p.m. Monday in the quarterfinals at the Portland Expo.

Sanford finished its season at 9-10, and with its lowest point output of the season.

“We didn’t execute offensively at all. I don’t know how many turnovers we had,” said Spartans coach Kristy Parent, whose team had 17. “I felt they were just stupid, unforced turnovers where they shuffled their feet, and there was no execution of the plays.”

The Spartans had relied on Morgan Fogg all season as their primary scorer, including in a 34-31 loss to Windham back on Dec. 18 when Fogg scored 16 points, but the Eagles were able to hold the senior guard to just two points on the night ”“ 11 below her season average.

Lengthy senior Sam Frost did the bulk of the work covering Fogg, consistently face-guarding her and not allowing any easy touches within 25 feet of the rim.

“That was our game plan: We wanted to really limit the amount of touches that Fogg had, let alone the number of points,” Windham coach Brody Artes said. “Sam did a phenomenal job on her tonight; she executed the game plan perfectly and her holding (Fogg) down to two points was huge for us.”

Shelby Paiement and Laura Kirkpatrick were the joint high scorers for the Spartans with five points each, while Summer Camire and Hannah Howes each added four.

But without Fogg getting any looks at the basket, the Sanford offense was left without a way of breaking down an Eagles defense that had allowed just 38.9 points per game during the regular season, the fourth best in the league. That was manifested in the 17 Spartan turnovers, as well as a 19.5 (8-41) shooting percentage.

“They did a very good job with Morgan, they took her out of the flow, but I’ve been telling the girls all season that other people have to do stuff for us and other kids have to score,” Parent said. “There’s going to be a game where they’re going to take Morgan away, and teams have tried to do that in our last four games of the season, but we’ve been fortunate that other kids have stepped up. Nobody stepped up today.”

Sanford had taken a 7-6 lead six minutes into the first quarter when Paiement scored a basket from in the paint, but Windham took the lead for good when Luisa Sbardella hit a 3-pointer the next time down the floor.

In spite of being held without a point for the final four minutes of the first half, the Spartans defense kept them to within five at the break but couldn’t hold the dam to start the second, when the Eagles hit three of their first four shots to open up a 26-15 lead.

Most of the Eagles’ production throughout came from bigs Sadie Nelson (11 points) and Lonnie Staten (eight points), who used their 5-foot-10-inch frames to get position inside and convert easy second-chance opportunities into valuable points.

“Nelson and (Staten) are strong girls and a lot of their points come off second opportunities, which we know, and we didn’t do a good job of boxing out,” Parent said.

Despite going nearly eight minutes without a point in a period bridging the second and third quarters, Sanford was still in the game with three minutes to play when Kirkpatrick hit a driving layup to close the gap to 29-22.

The Spartans had a chance to get even closer soon after as Windham’s Haley Batchelder missed two free throws and the Spartans grabbed the rebound, but Batchelder cut into the lane to steal the ball back and lay it in to put her team back up by double-digits, and all but seal the game in the process.

“It just wasn’t our night overall,” Parent said with a shake of her head while recounting the play. “It was Windham’s night.”

Staff Writer Cameron Dunbar can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 323 or [email protected]



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