Renne Hicks of Morse, left, fires a pass as Grace Houghton of Lincoln Academy defends during a girls basketball game Thursday night at Bath Middle School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

BATH — After several scheduling changes and more than a week of a break in action, the Morse girls basketball team finally enjoyed a season opener, falling 38-33 to Lincoln Academy on Thursday night at the middle school.

The Shipbuilders showed signs of improvement after going winless during the previous two seasons.

“We’re still really young and didn’t get to work together over the summer, so we’re still kind of picking things up as we go,” said Shipbuilders head coach Jeannine Paradis, who is in her second year at the helm. “There were a lot of things that we were able to do tonight that are already much better than last year.”

Paradis decided to go with shorter shifts for her players, and subbed five players in at a time in the first quarter. Paradis said she had a couple reasons for the decision.

“With our bench being strong and filled with depth, it gives everyone a chance to play and get used to competing with masks on,” said Paradis. “Finding good combinations of players between our younger and more experienced players is another thing we are looking for early on as we progress.”

With the construction of a new high school yet to be completed, the basketball teams will call Bath Middle School home this season. For many players, that means some careers are coming full circle. 

“It means everything, this gym is where I’ve spent my career and really feels like home,” said senior forward Abby Carpenter, who tied a team-high with seven points. 

Mary LaRochelle of Morse, right, looks to pass past the arms of Maddy York of Lincoln Academy during a girls basketball game Thursday night at Bath Middle School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

The Shipbuilders were outscored 8-2 in the final quarter, which made the difference. 

Both teams came out a tad rusty in the first quarter, resulting in several turnovers on both sides. The teams combined for only four total field goals early on and  the Eagles led 7-5 after the first.

“We were definitely rusty on the offensive end when we first came out, but I was very pleased with our perimeter defense and hustle tonight, especially in the first half,” added Paradis. 

When the second quarter arrived, both teams woke up on offense, resulting in a back-and-forth battle. Mary LaRochelle scored all seven of her points in the quarter, but Lincoln Academy took a 20-18 lead into the break. 

“I told them to get more aggressive in the second half, we weren’t getting to the basket enough in the first,” said Paradis.

In the third, Lincoln Academy standout forward Lizzie Ober made her presence felt, dropping four of her 11 points and came up big on the defensive end, altering several shots. 

The Shipbuilders did all they could on defense to stay within striking distance in the fourth, but couldn’t find their shot on the offensive end. 

Morse’s Julia Goddard puts up a shot during a game Thursday against Lincoln Academy at Bath Middle School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

“We just got cold, there’s not much we can do about it,” said Paradis. “We played a good game and we will be better tomorrow.”

LaRochelle and Carpenter each had seven points to lead the Shipbuilders. Kaylee Creamer, Danielle Bryant and Giorgia Fisher each added four.

Ober paced the Eagles with her 11 point outing. Grace Houghton added seven, and Reegan Duncan had six. 

“We really weren’t sure if we were going to get to this point,” said Carpenter. “Win or lose doesn’t really matter, the whole team was just happy and relieved to be back out here together facing someone other than ourselves.”

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