AUGUSTA — After 13 days off, you could excuse Forest Hills if the Tigers were a little rusty in the quarterfinal game against Vinalhaven on Tuesday morning.
Instead, they came out like — pardon the pun — uncaged Tigers. Forest Hills led the eighth-seeded Vikings 27-0 after one quarter and coasted to a 70-27 victory in a Western D girls basketball quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center.
“We’ve been focusing on being ready,” Forest Hills coach Mike LeBlanc said. “We’ve been really getting after them in practice that they have to come out ready, they can’t play scared. We knew that we were a better team. We just needed to prove it, and not let the nerves get to us.”
“We were getting ready for the last 13 days,” said Forest Hills senior Anna Carrier, who scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds. “Even though we didn’t play, we’ve just been preparing ourselves, and we knew had to come out strong, because you never know what can happen.”
Forest Hills (19-0), which will play Pine Tree in the semifinals at 11:30 a.m., Thursday, bolted out to a 13-0 lead midway through the first quarter. The Tigers ran and then ran some more, and ended up shooting 12 for 19 in the first quarter.
“We do a pretty good job looking up the court,” LeBlanc said. “We’ve been working on getting the ball up the court a little bit quicker. I think that was the key. A big court usually helps us, too.”
The Tigers consistently set up layups with smart, accurate passing. Carrier had 10 points in the first quarter, and Vinalhaven finished the quarter 0 for 5 from the field, with 15 turnovers. The Vikings finished the game with 40 turnovers.
“The first quarter, we came out really good, and really strong,” Carrier said. “I was surprised how good we came out, actually.”
Kori Coro finished with 15 points and eight rebounds for the Tigers, but shot the ball only once in the second half. It was 44-7 at halftime, and Carrier scored 10 more points in the third quarter before the Tigers went with their bench the rest of the way. Ellie Reidy finished with 10 points and nine rebounds for Vinalhaven (12-8).
Forest Hills posted victories of 66-48 and 47-41 over Pine Tree this season. The Breakers are led by eighth-grader Alex Goodman and 6-foot-1 Kim Emerson.
“They’re very much improved,” LeBlanc said. “They’re going to be a tough opponent, I think.”