OAKLAND — It’s only two games into the girls basketball season, but Messalonskee has already shown it can win a shootout and a defensive battle.

The shootout came on opening night, when the Eagles gave up 51 points to Erskine but still won handily. The defensive battle was Tuesday, when Messalonskee needed to grind out a 38-26 victory against Bangor.

“The kids have really bought into putting pressure on people, forcing turnovers, forcing teams to play with us,” first-year Messalonskee coach Keith Derosby said. “We really work hard.”

Messalonskee’s Mary Badeen led all scorers with 20 points, and all but demoralized the Rams at the end of the first half when she intercepted three consecutive passes. Badeen turned the last one into a layup to put Messalonskee on top 22-9 at the break.

Denae Johnson scored 13 points for Bangor (1-1), which had little offense besides her. Johnson was 6 of 13 from the floor, and her teammates were 6 of 48, including scores of missed shots in the paint.

“Our focus was to rotate down, make sure we have (the) back side, and really help on defense,” Badeen said.

What kept Bangor close was its own defense. Katie Brochu, Bangor’s 6-foot-2 senior center, did an effective job of containing Messalonskee center Megan Pelletier. Brochu had two points and 12 rebounds, and held Pelletier to six points. Pelletier still contributed more than the six points would suggest. She had two assists in the first quarter and finished with 13 rebounds and three blocked shots.

“The way we moved the ball, we did a good job,” Derosby said. “I really would have liked Megan to get more touches, obviously, but they did a good job closing on her.”

With the teams shooting a combined 22 percent, neither team could get a fully comfortable lead until the fourth quarter. Bangor got within 26-18 by the end of the third quarter, but Badeen opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers.

Bangor also hurt itself at the foul line, making just 2 of 11. Messalonskee’s Nicole Collier and Emily York, both of whom stand 5 foot 2, each drove in for baskets to help the Eagles build their lead in the second quarter.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

 

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