Morse’s Julia Goddard (4), dribbles ahead while Mt. Ararat’s Kyla Greenleaf defends during Friday’s season opener between the two schools in Topsham. Mt. Ararat won, 65-29. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

TOPSHAM — The Mt. Ararat girls basketball team welcomed new coach Julie Petrie, using eight different scorers and racing out to an 18-5 first-quarter lead. The Eagles never looked back, soaring to a 65-29 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference victory over Morse in girls high school basketball action on Friday.

Mt. Ararat’s Theresa Breed led all scorers with 16 points, while Elsa Daulerio added 14 and Kyla Greenleaf had 12 in the victory in the season opener for both squads. The Eagles used heads-up passing, converted in transition, and were solid from the free-throw line in the win.

“We want to play team ball and look to transition. I thought we shared the ball beautifully, share the wealth,” Petrie, who came from the Lisbon girls team to coach at Mt. Ararat, where she teaches, said. “We’re pretty athletic and we want to use that to our advantage. It’s always nice to get the opening tip and lay it in and get that confidence.”

That was the case as Greenleaf grabbed the tip and took it in for a lay-up. A Mary LaRochelle basket tied it, but a 16-1 Mt. Ararat run extended the lead and the Eagles never looked back. After the dust cleared from the opening quarter action, the hosts held an 18-5 advantage.

Jaden Lohr was busy for the Eagles with two steals, a pair of rebounds and four points in the quarter while Daulerio also made her presence known as the 6-foot sophomore had four boards, a block and was 2-for-2 from the line. Breed grabbed four of the Eagles’ 14 first-quarter boards.

“I thought we blocked out super well and didn’t play scared,” Petrie said. “Preaching the fact that rebounds and possession wins basketball, I wanted us to play our game and not someone else’s.”

Mt. Ararat opened the quarter the same way it played the opening frame, crashing the boards, making the passes, and sinking free throws. Greenleaf led the second-quarter attack as the senior hauled in five rebounds from the guard position and went a perfect 4-for-4 from the line.

“We work on those in practice as it’s an important part of our game,” Petrie said as Greenleaf, Daulerio and senior Alexa Eaton were a combined 14-for-17 from the foul line in the contest.

Following an assist from Greenleaf to Breed, Lauren Magno found Lohr racing down the court for a bucket in transition and the Eagles scored the first six points of the second quarter.

Mt. Ararat’s Kyla Greenleaf makes a move to the basket during the first half of Friday’s season opener against Morse in Topsham. The Eagles won, 65-29. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

An offensive rebound and putback by Daulerio with a free throw to make it a three-point play late in the half, carried the Eagles to a 39-11 lead into the halftime break. Greenleaf led all scorers with nine first-half points, while the trio of Breed, Eaton and Lohr each had six. Eaton and Morgan Ruff each had a 3-pointer for Mt. Ararat.

Junior Abby Carpenter paced the visitors in the first half with four points, followed by Kaylee Creamer’s three, a shot from behind the arc as the buzzer sounded to end the half.

Mt. Ararat continued to extend its lead in the third quarter, getting points in the paint from Breed and Magno while Daulerio snagged three of her 10 rebounds.

Mary LaRochelle and Julia Goddard each netted four third-quarter points for Morse as the ’Builders continued to work out on the court. The Eagles held a 55-19 lead through three quarters.

“They’re really trying to learn things at a fast pace. They are learning a new philosophy, finding the building blocks for that and breaking down drills in terms of our offense or defense,” said Morse’s first-year coach Jeannine Paradis, after coaching at Maranacook, said. “There’s a lot of work in progress, but one of the big things I just told the girls is that a lot of people say they haven’t seen this group of girls work this hard the whole game.”

The work continued for Morse, evening the Eagles in the fourth with 10 points and receiving five from Carpenter as well as two from LaRochelle along with a pair from Macey Coffin as the senior was 2-for-2 from the charity stripe.

“I think our energy is really good this year. We all like coach and the energy she brings,” LaRochelle said. “We will make sure we don’t get so down at the beginning and making sure we come out with the same intensity we did in the second half. I think we came out a lot more heart in the second half tonight.”

Despite the score, it was evident the willingness to learn and build on games like these.

Mt. Ararat’s Elsa Daulerio (4) grabs a rebound as Morse’s Mary LaRochelle steps in from behind during the second half of Friday’s girls basketball game in Topsham.(Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

“They do, they’re there every night.” Paradis said about hers team’s eagerness to learn. “They ask questions, they want to learn. They’re a great workable group and wants to succeed, it’s just going to take a lot for them to feel that way.”
The Eagle starters gave way to the substitutes throughout the final quarter, getting everyone some game time, but before she left the floor, Daulerio scored her final three points when she stepped behind the arc and sank a trey.
“I honestly like shooting threes the best, but this year I have been working on my post moves,” Daulerio said. “But yeah, I do love to shoot threes.”
Petrie likes the play of her sophomore.
“She’s building that confidence. She’s a sweet kid coach, she’s a sponge,” she said. “I’ve seen her grow in just the last couple of weeks.”
On Tuesday, the Eagles travel to Gray-New Gloucester (7 p.m.), 49-31 winners over Fryeburg Academy, on Friday night. Morse hosts Poland at 6:30 p.m. The Knights are 0-1 after falling to Freeport, 49-21 in their season opener.
With the win, it’s a great way to start the season according to Daulerio.
“It’s great, I think it really boosts our confidence and we’ll take that against Gray-New Gloucester next week,” she said.

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