It’s fun being a Gardiner basketball fan these days. Tuesday night, the boys and girls teams swept a doubleheader from Winslow in a packed gym. The boys have one loss while the girls are unbeaten at 8-0.

An extra year’s experience has made a big difference for the girls team which returned 10 players from last season’s 11-7 squad.

“Everyone has that kind of feeling like they’ve been there before,” Gardiner coach Mike Gray said. “Whether it’s starters or kids coming off the bench so far we haven’t been fazed by anything.”

All 10 returning players are contributing, one reason why the scoring for the Tigers is so balanced this season. Gray thinks bench play is the primary reason for the team’s success. He has shooters coming off the bench in Kelsie Moody and Liz Kelley, defenders and rebounders in Ally Day and Hillary Owen and a backup point guard and scorer in Taylor Banister.

“They can all contribute because they were all in that spot last year,” Gray said.

Of the starters, junior point guard Kylee Granholm is the most improved. She scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds against Winslow and has shown poise that eluded her at times last season.

“Last year she wasn’t looking to score a lot,” Gray said. “She’s settled down a little bit . . . and she’s not getting into the foul trouble she did last year.”

Paige Pilsbury, Jenna Moore, Katie McAllister and Kelly Macomber round out the starting five and all have scored in double figures this season.

The Tigers have a bye this week before playing at Belfast on Tuesday. They’ll likely be 9-0 heading into a tough three-game stretch that includes road games against defending Class B state champion Leavitt and unbeaten Camden Hills. After that they host unbeaten Nokomis which so far has looked like the team to beat in Eastern Maine Class B.

“We kind of had that stretch of games circled all along,” Gray said. “That will give us a good gauge of where we really are.”

• • •

After opening the season at 5-0, defending Class C state champion Hall-Dale has lost back-to-back games on the road to Spruce Mountain and Madison.

“They’re certainly two legit opponents that we lost to,” Hall-Dale coach Brandon Terrill said. “Madison is No. 1 right now for a reason.”

The Bulldogs, who have played five of their first seven games on the road, play four of their next five at home. In their two losses senior scoring star Carylanne Wolfington has been held to eight and six points, respectively. She’s drawing a lot of attention when she puts the ball on the floor, but she also hasn’t shot well in those games.

“She can’t seem to buy an outside shot right now,” Terrill said. “Good release, good follow through, good rotation, it’s just not going in right now.”

After hitting six 3-pointers against St. Dominic, Wolfington has gone two games without scoring from behind the arc. Her shooting problems have spread to her teammates who were shut out in the fourth quarter against Madison and scored one point in the last five minutes against Spruce Mountain.

“We’ve got to find a way to be better offensively,” Terrill said. “That’s not good enough to beat the good teams.”

Sophomore Allison Crockett was a bright spot against Madison with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

“It’s her best game so far,” Terrill said. “She was able to finish a lot of stuff around the basket.”

The Bulldogs averaged 53 points a game before running into their last two opponents. They host Wiscasset on Friday and Spruce Mountain on Monday.

“I think it’s going to be good to play some home games,” Terrill said.

• • •

Cony coach Karen Sirois was pleasantly surprised with her team’s 64-35 win at Hampden on Tuesday night. The Rams led 17-5 at the end of the first quarter after scoring 12 straight points.

“For us to come out the way we did, that’s a great statement we made,” Sirois said. “We started to press and just didn’t look right. I said ‘this isn’t going to work.’ We went back to halfcourt man and just pulled away.”

The Rams (8-0) aren’t big but they’re very versatile at the guard position. Junior Josie Lee and senior Mia Diplock are each about 5-8 and able to play in the post or on the perimeter. Lee hauled in a game-high 17 rebounds for the second time this season and leads the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference’s Class A division in that department at more than 12 per game.

“She has a knack for the ball,” Sirois said. “She’s athletic and she gets there quick.”

Diplock scored 13 points and had seven assists and like Lee, can play inside, especially on defense. Tuesday, she defended Hampden’s top post player.

“We have such size at the guard position, I can play them on post players,” Sirois said.

The Rams have a strong rebounder in Melanie Guzman and four or five role players who specialize in shooting, defending or rebounding.

“It’s experience,” Sirois said. “We have great leaders and these girls are working hard. We have great practices and that allows us to get ready for games.”

Cony plays at Bangor on Friday against another team loaded with size.

“They’re huge,” Sirois said. “And they rebound extremely well. We have to play pretty physical.”

• • •

Kents Hill resumed practice Wednesday after a three-week break. Because of school breaks, the private school is only able to play 12 games (most play 16 or 18) which makes it hard to qualify for the Class C tournament.

“It kills us,” Kents Hill coach Tom Marshall said. “I’m still learning how to coach in prep school. We probably get half as many minutes in the gym as a Richmond or Rangeley. The Huskies (1-1) resume their schedule Saturday at Old Orchard Beach. Despite the drawbacks, Marshall likes what he sees of this team.

“This a much more motivated team (than last year),” he said. “The girls a have showed up to every practice and played hard.”

Marshall said his team is seven deep and has a potential star in 6-1 freshman Emma Curnin.

“In her first game she had 10 points and 16 rebounds and I felt like she didn’t play well,” he said. “If she develops we’ll just get better and better. It’s just a question of how long it takes.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

 


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