AUGUSTA — It took a little awhile for Christine Miller and the Maranacook girls basketball team to get going Tuesday afternoon in a Western C quarterfinal game against neighbor Kents Hill.
But when the Black Bears did, they rolled right through the Huskies and into the regional semifinals.
Miller scored a game-high 25 points, including 11 free throws, and Sarah Clough added 13 as No. 2 Maranacook stopped No. 7 Kents Hill 52-39 before an enthusiastic crowd.
“(Miller) can carry us on her shoulders,” said Maranacook coach Jeannine Paradis, who recorded her 100th career victory. “We came out a little slow but I think we were trying to get our legs under us.”
Maranacook (14-5) will next play No. 3 Carrabec (16-4) in a regional semifinal game at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
Catherine Sanborn also contributed 10 points and Miller grabbed 10 rebounds for the Black Bears.
Oakland native Sara Grenier scored 13 points and Emma Curnin added 11 for Kents Hill, which finished 12-5.
“We played our hearts out,” Kents Hill coach Luke Wamboldt said. “Miller is just a good all-around player. (Maranacook) also has incredible guard play.”
The Huskies reached the Civic Center for the first time since they joined Western C a few years ago, but hopes of an extended stay here were dashed.
Maranacook used a 16-4 run in the second quarter to pull away and then kept the pressure on in the second half.
“We were never really able to overcome that,” Wamboldt said.
Maranacook led by as many as 18 in the second half — 33-15 — but Kents Hill tried to rally late in the third and early in the fourth.
Grenier hit a 3-pointer in the first minute of the fourth quarter to pull the Huskies within 38-28.
However, they couldn’t slice the deficit into single digits and the Black Bears coasted down the stretch for the victory.
“We did a good job going to the ball,” Miller said. “We didn’t shoot that well but then we kept building our lead. We work on our press 80 percent of our practices. We really tried to shut them down.”
Maranacook held a decisive edge on the glass but neither team shot particularly well early.
The Huskies made just one of their first seven shots; the Black Bears converted just one of their first six.
Things quickly changed in the second quarter.
While the Huskies stayed cool, the Black Bears slowly warmed up and used a 16-4 run to grab a comfortable 24-13 cushion at the half.
“We like to run,” Paradis said, “and we were able to do so. We just kept pushing and pushing. We were able to get to the basket.”
The run started after Curnin banked in a baseline shot to give Kents Hill a 9-8 lead just a minute and a half into the second quarter.
Sara Beckwith scored on a layup, Miller made two free throws and then Clough hit a 12-foot jump shot to give Maranacook a 14-11 lead.
Sanborn then scored consecutive baskets, including one on a steal and layup.
Miller gave Maranacook its first double digit lead — 21-11 — when she drove past Ashley Doyle, sank a layup and drew a foul for a 3-point play.
“I think they got a little tired,” Paradis said. “Hopefully, we can keep running like that in our next game.”