There’s no way the Maranacook girls can replace the play of senior Katie Poulin at point guard, at least not this season.

The three-year starter tore an ACL going in for a layup during a preseason game in Winthrop and will miss her final high school season. Not only was she the team’s floor general, but Poulin was also the defensive leader for the Black Bears.

“It’s a big blow, but that just means the team has to come together and be unified,” Maranacook coach Jeannine Paradis said.

Paradis said Poulin remains involved in the team’s practices and games, if not on the floor. In her absence, freshman Sarah Clough is playing point guard.

“She’s definitely not afraid to go in and make things happen,” Paradis said. “She’s going to make mistakes; she’s a young player.”

Seniors Hannah Cumler and Hannah Clough are dealing with a couple of old injuries, Clough a knee and Cumler a dislocated shoulder, but both are close to 100 percent, Paradis said.

The Black Bears lost 75-33 to defending Class B state champion Leavitt in the season opener Friday night. The Hornets graduated a couple of key players from last year’s unbeaten team, including Courtney Anderson, who is currently leading the University of Maine women in assists and is second on the team in minutes played. But they return her younger sister Kristen as well as center Adrianna Newton.

“They are definitely playing defense more aggressively than I’ve seen them in the past,” Paradis said. “They looked like state champs.”

The Black Bears have received strong play from 5-foot-10 freshman Christine Miller, who leads the team in scoring through preseason and the first game.

“She’s doing a great job,” Paradis said. “She can shoot the three, and she’s not afraid to take it to the basket.”

• • •

Erskine was a little shell-shocked by Messalonskee in its season opener, falling behind 22-5 in the first quarter. The Eagles came back, losing 68-51, but never recovered from their slow start.

“We actually won the tip and laid it in,” Erskine coach Scott Corey said. “We looked like champs. We got a stop, made a foul shot and went up 3-0.”

Messalonskee responded with 3-pointers on six of its next seven possessions. Corey had scouted the team in preseason and formed a game plan designed for Messalonskee to shoot from the perimeter. It backfired as Messalonskee made 11 3-pointers, five from senior point guard Mary Badeen.

“I thought she was the difference in the game,” Corey said.

There was positive news, however. The Eagles played well in the second and third quarters and cut the lead to 10 at one point. They also rebounded well and got to the foul line, and the 51 points were a lot more than they averaged last season.

“I don’t think we scored 51 points in a week last year,” Corey said.

Senior Meryl Bond finished with a team-high 15 points but got into foul trouble in the first half.

“She really is our backbone right now,” Corey said. “She’s our glue.”

Senior Amy Phillips also played well, coming off the bench for 13 points and 12 rebounds.

“I thought for the first time in a while, we gave an effort for 32 minutes,” Corey said. “These kids are a year older, and they’re tired of losing.”

The Eagles topped Lewiston on Tuesday to even their record at 1-1.

• • •

Hall-Dale senior Carylanne Wolfington got off to a quick start, scoring 38 points in the season opener against Winthrop and 18 in a win over St. Dominic. With the graduation of high-scoring center Taylor Massey, Wolfington has taken on a more active scoring role.

“If you give her a crease of any kind from the perimeter, she’s going to get to the basket in a flash and finish with either hand,” Hall-Dale coach Brandon Terrill said. “She’s got such a quick first step you have to play off her. Then she can hit the three.”

The defending Class C state champions will be tested over the next two games, first at home against Mt. Abram tonight, then at Boothbay on Monday night.

“A lot of coaches are saying they’re the team to beat,” Terrill said of Boothbay.

• • •

Gardiner pulled away from Oak Hill on Friday in the second half despite the absence of a couple of key players. Junior Kylee Granholm helped break open the game with four of her eight steals in the third quarter as the Tigers outscored the Raiders 18-2.

Granholm finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, eight steals and six assists.

“She played great the other night,” Gardiner coach Mike Gray said. “Last year was really her first year of getting a lot of minutes. She’s a lot more under control this year.”

The Tigers played without sophomore Ally Day, who was ill, and junior Taylor Banister, who is nursing a sprained ankle. Katie McAllister finished with 12 points, while junior center Kelly Macomber scored eight points and blocked four shots.

“She’s better about blocked shots; she goes straight up,” Gray said. “And offensively, she’s looking to score more.”

The Tigers face a good test Friday at home against Medomak Valley.

“They have a star player (Alanna Vose) and a bunch of good role players,” Gray said.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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