Despite an 11-7 record, Skowhegan missed out on the Eastern A girls basketball playoffs last season. If the Indians make it this year, it might be because of their first two games.

Skowhegan opened the season with a 47-46 victory over Mt. Blue and followed that with a 53-51 win over Hampden, holding the Broncos without a shot over their final three possessions.

“The goal is to score more than the other team, and we’ve accomplished that mission twice,” Skowhegan coach Heath Cowan said, laughing.

“When our backs are against the wall this year, we can make a (defensive) stop. Last year, we couldn’t do that.”

Different players are stepping up for the Indians. Amanda Johnson is the star and provides good leadership, but Skowhegan still held it together when Johnson fouled out in the final minutes against Mt. Blue. Adriana “A.J.” Martineau scored 17 points in that game, and when she fouled out early in the fourth quarter of the Hampden game, Andrea Quirion filled in nicely.

Point guards Taylor Johnson and Natasha Thompson also are doing their job. Skowhegan likes an up-tempo game, but the Indians have committed only 23 turnovers in two games — 11 against Mt. Blue and 12 against Hampden.

“I’d accept 15 or 16 turnovers (per game) playing really fast,” Cowan said. “But we’ve kept it under (13) two games in a row, which says a lot for the two kids handling the point.”

* * *

Lawrence took a big step forward with a 48-45 win over Brewer on opening night. The Bulldogs finished 0-18 last season.

“We outplayed them,” Lawrence coach John Donato said. “We didn’t outskill them — we outworked them. It shows that if we put the effort in, we can be in ballgames. That’s all I want to do.”

In that game, senior point guard Danielle Armour hurt her leg diving for the ball and possibly tore her anterior cruciate ligament.

“She tore it before, and she re-injured her bad leg,” Donato said.

If it is an ACL tear, Armour will be the third area point guard to go out with an ACL injury this season. Maranacook’s Katie Poulin tore her ACL in preseason, and Rangeley’s Abby Abbott also is out for the season. Donato said he will go with either senior Mindy Rowell or freshman Jordyn Towers at the point.

Senior guard Danielle Spaulding has stood out for the Bulldogs in the early going, along with sophomore forward Brianna Soucy and freshman center Paige Belanger.

* * *

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.

* * *

Messalonskee went with a different kind of lineup for a brief stretch in Tuesday’s 38-26 win over Bangor. It was a lineup with Mary Badeen as the second-tallest Messalonskee player on the floor.

The lineup was Nicole Collier (5-foot-2), Emily York (5-2), Kassaundra Michaud (5-3), Badeen (5-4) and Rachael Wacome (5-9).

The Eagles gave away nearly a foot in some one-on-one matchups but still battled Bangor to a draw with that lineup on the floor.

Messalonskee coach Keith Derosby said the lineup wasn’t just a one-time, one-minute gimmick.

“It allows us to get a little burst of energy,” Derosby said. “I know it creates mismatches at times, but if we can keep the ball in transition, that really doesn’t end up hurting us. I like what all those kids can bring in that situation.”

Gary Hawkins contributed to this report.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

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