GARDINER — Three easy baskets off offensive rebounds. Six more points in transition. A couple of outside shots and an-almost-perfect performance at the free-throw line.

Oh, and the Gardiner girls basketball team forced eight turnovers and allowed just one field goal.

Not bad for just one quarter of play.

Katie McAllister finished with a double-double (12 points and 11 rebounds) and Gardiner outscored Morse 18-3 in a decisive second quarter to grab an important 58-37 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B victory Tuesday night at Bragoli Memorial Gym.

“Our defense was great,” Gardiner coach Mike Gray said. “We turned our defense into offense. The first quarter (Morse) shot well. We needed a wake-up call.”

The Tigers (4-0) certainly got one and then put the game away in the second, turning an 11-8 first quarter deficit into a 26-14 halftime lead.

Kylee Granholm finished with 11 points and seven assists to pace Gardiner. Center Kelly Macomber had eight points and four blocks.

“It’s huge,” McAllister said. “It’s a completely different feeling this year.”

Indeed it is. Gardiner started 0-3 last season and fought the rest of the way to qualify for the Eastern B tournament. At 4-0 this year, the Tigers are in excellent shape.

“It’s shocking to see us as a leading team,” McAllister said. “We’re not an underdog.”

The Shipbuilders (1-2) started strong and would’ve grabbed an even bigger lead if not for Macomber, who scored six points in the first quarter to keep the Tigers in it.

The Tigers had seven turnovers in the first eight minutes, missed easy baskets and struggled defensively against a Morse team that looked to push the ball.

Things changed in the second quarter.

Gardiner scored as many points — eight — in the opening two minutes than it did the entire first quarter.

Granholm and McAllister each scored four points in the quarter, and each played strong defense.

“The second quarter, our defense was just great,” Gray said. “It started with our post players, cutting off the lanes for drives. They had to settle for the outside shots.”

Added Morse coach Michael Hart, whose team played in Eastern A last season: “We came out and played hard, and had a lead. But Gardiner stepped up and we didn’t match it. We let them do their thing and we didn’t answer.”

Gardiner opened the third quarter on an 11-2 run to take a 37-16 lead. Morse never got within 15 points the rest of the way.

“We came out a little flat,” Granholm said. “We weren’t pumped up early. We knew we had to keep our heads in it, and we did. We played a good game.”

Ally Day scored nine points and Jenna Moore added six for Gardiner. Tori Field and Kerry Cummings each scored 11 points to lead Morse.

Bill Stewart – 621-5640

[email protected]

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