Maine Central Institute matched half of last winter’s win total on opening night with a 49-27 girls basketball win over Waterville. The Huskies led by six points at halftime before putting the game away in the third quarter.

“It gave them a real boost of confidence,” MCI coach Wes Brann said, “to know that what we’ve been talking about — improving the program — really showed on the court, if not for four quarters, at least for three.”

After the game was tied 4-4 after one quarter, the Huskies outscored Waterville 18-12 in the second quarter and 15-1 in the third. That’s 33 points, and it’s not that long ago that 33 points would have been a nice full-game total for MCI.

“It was a slow start,” Brann said. “But the third quarter, the girls really played well. They came out after halftime and really pushed the ball. They really turned on the press. We got a few easy hoops, and that made the difference.”

Senior guard Ashley Alton will be counted on for scoring by the Huskies this season, and she scored 17 points in the opener. Brann thinks the inside play of Cassie Miller and Katie Hughes will also be a factor in MCI’s success this winter, and those two combined for 16 rebounds against Waterville.

“They really did a nice job limiting Waterville to one shot, especially in the second half,” Brann said.

• • •

Forest Hills opened its season Friday and Saturday with two close wins over Vinalhaven. Forest Hills has almost an entirely new starting lineup this season, and few of them had to play two full games in less than 24 hours after a ferry ride before.

“I know I’m exhausted just coaching it,” Forest Hills coach Mike LeBlanc said. “I can’t imagine playing it.”

While Forest Hills swept the weekend, LeBlanc said he was critical of the team during the games. But after thinking more about it afterward, he felt differently.

“Getting out of there with two wins was big for them,” LeBlanc said. “They actually played better than I thought they did while we were out there. We ran the floor very well, and the senior leadership with Keely (Taylor) and Haley (Cuddy) picked everybody up.”

Forest Hills actually canceled school due to the weather on Wednesday — the last time LeBlanc could remember that happening was a couple years ago — and that meant no practice for the Tigers. If the roads clear up, Forest Hills is scheduled to host Pine Tree Academy and star Alex Goodman on Thursday. Goodman scored over 300 points on the varsity as an eighth-grader last winter, and opened this season with a quadruple-double against Greater Portland Christian. Goodman scored 34 points in a 66-48 loss to Forest Hills last season.

“I put two girls on her last year, thinking she’d get tired,” LeBlanc said. “Nope. She didn’t even bat an eyelid at it.”

• • •

Meagan Crosby’s physically and emotionally painful journey back from a broken leg suffered during last year’s basketball tournament took a triumphant turn when she was in the starting lineup of Oak Hill’s season-opener on Saturday against Saint Dominic.

“It feels so good,” she said. “Basketball is my life. I’m always playing it. I play year-round. So that six months where I just couldn’t do it and then I had restrictions was really hard. But it’s good to be back.”

Crosby, a senior center, required a rod and three screws in her left leg after breaking it during last year’s Western Class B preliminary round loss to York.

Although her love for the game runs deep, Crosby admitted she had doubts in the days after the injury whether she had it in her to get back on the court for her senior season.

“The first week was really hard coming back from surgery,” Crosby said. “I had people showing up at my house and saying, ‘You’ll get through it,’ Once I started to get off crutches, I felt like ‘Yeah, I can do this.'”

“As soon as I was able to get back I went back and did some summer ball,” she added. “It’s a long process.”

First-year head coach Charlie Castonguay kept a close eye on Crosby during summer ball and even held her out of some games so as not to put too much stress on the leg.

“She’s got a lot of heart, that kid,” Castonguay said. “All summer long, she just battled. She plays with a lot of pain sometimes. We won’t know it. And she won’t tell you. She just wants to play.””

“I was a little nervous at first because it’s very traumatic,” Crosby said. “But once I started getting into it I kind of just forgot about it and kept playing through.”

Crosby scored two points in her return, a 60-28 win over the Saints.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo


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