It took only one game, but now the Gardiner girls look like veterans of the Bangor Auditorium atmosphere.

The Tigers were clearly rattled last year, and lost to Presque Isle 48-27 in the quarterfinals. On Saturday afternoon, they went in as the No. 4 seed, and ran away from No. 5 Mt. Desert Island, 63-38.

“It was easier this year, going in as the (higher) seed instead of the bottom seed,” Gardiner senior guard Paige Pilsbury said. “It’s kind of like we knew we had to win.

“Last year we were nervous. So nervous,” Pilsbury added. “This year it was more of an excited feeling, instead of nervousness.”

Gardiner led 17-9 after one quarter and countered every run MDI made. With the Tigers leading 45-34 early in the fourth quarter, they ran off 17 straight points to ice the game.

“Last year was kind of our introduction to the building and the whole experience,” senior guard Jenna Moore said. “This year, we were just able to come out and play our game, like we would at home. It really worked out for us this year.”

• • •

When Valley’s Carrington Miller picked up his third foul with 4 minutes, 30 seconds left in the second quarter of a quarterfinal game against North Haven on Saturday, coach Wade Morrill didn’t panic. He took Miller out of the game for three minutes, then put the junior back on the floor with 1:30 left in the first half.

“I don’t succumb to a lot of traditional reasoning when it comes to fouls. It bit me in the past, it might bite me again,” Morrill said. “I think you want to get kids to play aggressive as long as they can. You don’t want fouls to take them out of their rhythm and out of their game. A lot of people disagree with that. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, like everything.”

This time, it worked. Miller played the entire second half without picking up a foul in Valley’s 54-34 victory.

“Today, it worked out well for us,” Morrill said.

• • •

This has been a season on the road of sorts for Mt. Blue. Construction at Mt. Blue High School forced the Cougars to play their home games at Mt. Blue Middle School. Now, the Cougars hope to adopt a new home court, the Augusta Civic Center.

“All season we haven’t really had a home gym. Throughout the year, Coach (Jim Bessey) has been getting it in our heads that this is our home court. So once we come here, we’re going to play hard,” Mt. Blue senior Cam Sennick said.

The Cougars opened the Eastern A tournament with a 72-47 win over Brunswick on Saturday. They’ll play Edward Little in the semifinals Wednesday.

• • •

The Nokomis girls uncharacteristically got a little rattled themselves in their 58-51 victory over Medomak Valley on Saturday morning. Nokomis was backed by a large crowd, as usual, and the Warriors fans hooted at the officials over several close calls.

Medomak Valley had a 20-10 edge in free throw attempts — Alanna Vose alone took 15 foul shots — and it appeared the Warriors players on the floor got caught up in that frustration at times.

“We’ve talked about that, and I think some of our younger kids on the floor lost their composure at times,” Nokomis coach Kori Dionne said. “We’ve talked about it and talked about it, but this is a different game, and it’s a different atmosphere. We made mistakes in that area. We need to learn to shut that stuff out and just play ball. I’m confident that we’ll get that figured out for Wednesday.”

• • •

Wiscasset boys coach Dana Lawrence looked like a tournament veteran Monday instead of a first-year varsity coach as he nearly guided his seventh-seeded Wolverines to an upset of No. 2 Waynflete. Lawrence was hired this year after working several years for both the girls and boys basketball programs at Gardiner.

“This year I had a lot of seniors who started out with a new coach maybe some new thoughts and new philosophies. Two or three games into it I started to learn a little bit more about them as they did me. I had to tone it down a little bit and give them a little bit of freedom and it worked out good for both of us,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence’s team was built around defense which helped it cut a 16-point deficit down to two Monday before the Wolverines faded in the final couple of minutes.

“These guys have been through that numerous times this year,” Lawrence said. “We’ve been down 20 or 25 (points) in the third (quarter) and we’ve made it a five-point ball game.”

The Wolverines will graduate seven players, including four starters, so Lawrence is already looking ahead.

“We’ve got a good little feeder program,” he said. “There are some good guys down there coaching. We’ll be very young next year but we’ve got a good base to work off.”


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