AUGUSTA — The Seacoast Christian girls’ basketball team has a slogan on the back of its warm-up tops: “Embrace the grind.”

After their gritty effort Saturday, the Guardians are one win away from the first state championship in program history.

Kaitlyn Jandreau scored 11 points – 10 in the second half – and third-seeded Seacoast Christian used a stifling defense to defeat No. 4 Forest Hills 39-31 for the Class D South championship at the Augusta Civic Center.

Ellie Leech and tournament MVP Breckyn Winship each added 10 points for the Guardians (13-6), who will face undefeated Southern Aroostook in the state final next Saturday at the Civic Center.

Southern Aroostook, which won state titles in 2018 and 2019, defeated Wisdom 59-26 in the North final.

Forest Hills finished 13-8.


Seacoast Christian, based in South Berwick, led 29-28 late in third quarter before a 10-0 run sealed the game. The defense held Forest Hills scoreless for a span of 8 minutes, 16 seconds from the 1:01 mark of the third quarter until a 3-pointer from Kylie Yu (14 points) with 45 seconds left.

“Our defense is our best offense, we’ve been saying that all year,” said Winship, clutching a myriad of hardware as she spoke. “That’s how we roll. Our press and our defense, that’s how we get most of our points – a steal or a rebound, and we executed it very well today.”

Leech, meanwhile, drew charges from Forest Hills’ offense and frustrated the Tigers in their attempts to advance the ball.

“We practice that,” Winship said. “We make sure we step in front so we’re not doing blocks. Ellie Leech is fantastic at taking charges and she’s probably our best one at it.”

Yu finished with four 3-pointers for Forest Hills, which was denied a shot at its first state title since 1997.

Forest Hills charged out to an 8-3 led in the first quarter, thanks to five points from Grace Allen, but Seacoast Christian roared back with an 8-0 run. Bella Gee, who once was accidentally left behind after a practice, prompting the addition of a “Where’s Bella?” sign on the Civic Center wall – started the rally with a basket. Leech made a layup off her own steal, and a Winship bucket followed a Tiger turnover.


After a Yu 3-pointer, Seacoast Christian went on a 12-0 run and eventually led 23-17 at the half.

“We’ve worked on defense from Day 1 until now,” Seacoast Christian Coach Lee Petrie said. “It’s what we live and die on, our matchups. We feel we can stop anybody when we have to. We give up something once in a while, but we force them to do things they don’t want to do.”

In the third, 3-pointers from Yu, Peyton Chaisson and Allie Dunning pulled Forest Hills within a point, 27-26. Jandreau and Yu traded buckets, but Forest Hills made just one more shot the rest of the afternoon.

“They (Forest Hills) made a little run at us because people were trying to do a little too much outside their responsibility,” Petrie said. “How can you fault kids for trying to work hard?”

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