AUGUSTA — With players like Mary Badeen and Megan Pelletier on the floor, there’s always the feeling that the Messalonskee girls basketball team has one more run left in it.

That run never materialized Friday night as the fifth-seeded Eagles fell behind early to No. 4 Mt. Ararat and didn’t recover in a 52-46 quarterfinal loss at the Eastern Maine Class A tournament.

Mt. Ararat (13-6) advances to play the winner of the Cony-Bangor game in Wednesday’s semifinal round while Messalonskee finishes at 13-6.

Foul trouble hurt both teams but it had a greater effect on Messalonskee, which played with Pelletier on the bench for eight minutes of the first half. Without the 5-foot-11 senior on the court, Messalonskee struggled to rebound with Mt. Ararat.

“Their size gave us some matchup problems,” Messalonskee coach Keith Derosby said. “We were kind of hoping we could withstand it, but with Megan and Mikayla (Turner) getting in foul trouble early, it kind of neutralized any weapons we could have.”

Pelletier picked up her second foul four minutes into the game and sat out until the four-minute mark of the second quarter. She immediately stole the ball and laid it in to draw the Eagles to within two (19-17) but the team went cold after that. Mt. Ararat responded with a 10-1 run to take a 29-21 lead at the half. Pelletier finished with 13 points but only scored one basket and grabbed one rebound in the first half.

Mt. Ararat had its own foul problems. Leading scorer Leah Hitchcock sat most of the third quarter while starting guard Caitlin LaFountain sat all but two minutes of the second half and scored all 13 of her points in the first two quarters. Junior Mallory Nelson picked up some of the slack. She finished with a team-high 16 points, including all eight for her team in the third quarter.

“We have a lot of kids who are capable of doing different things,” Mt. Ararat coach Kelly LaFountain said. “I feel we’re really balanced.”

Messalonskee grabbed some momentum when Badeen (19 points) hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the third quarter. That drew the Eagles to within three, 37-34. Pelletier connected on back-to-back layups to make it 43-41, but by then Hitchcock was back on the floor and muscled in a couple of layups. Nelson capped her big night with a putback and three-point play to seal the win.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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