WATERVILLE — Monday’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference matinée between Messalonskee and Waterville started with the sloppiness typical of the first game during Christmas break. Yet the Eagles still emerged from a first quarter featuring 13 combined turnovers and 20 percent shooting with a comfortable eight-point lead.

Messalonskee’s depth and strength took over from there, with the outside-inside duo of Sophie Holmes and McKenna Brodeur both posting double-doubles to lead the Eagles to a 53-30 win.

Brodeur collected 18 points and 12 rebounds and Holmes put up 18 points, 11 rebounds and four steals as Messalonskee (6-1) won its sixth in a row since its opening night loss to Lawrence.

Jordan Jabar led the Purple Panthers (1-6) with 17 points and seven rebounds.

Messalonskee scored the game’s first six points and never trailed. Waterville didn’t get on the board until Jabar’s three-point play off a feed from Mackenzie St. Pierre 5:17 into the game.

Those would be the Panthers’ only points of the period as Kelsey Dillon’s three-pointer made it 11-3 at the end of one. But eight turnovers and 4-for-14 shooting against Waterville’s zone defense had Eagles coach Keith Derosby looking for a spark.

“We preach take care of the ball and have the intensity. We looked flat in the first half,” Derosby said. “To (Waterville’s) credit, their zone was kind of forcing us into the shots we had talked about not taking. Then they broke it. I think we recognized it some of the time, but we didn’t fully recognize when that opportunity presented itself.”

“We knew we had to make Sophie and Aly (Turner) earn everything they got,” Waterville coach Rob Rodrigue said. “Mackenzie St. Pierre and Sophie Webb did a really good job of face-guarding them and not allowing them any easy looks. They didn’t get many easy ones. But they’ve got some depth there, and as they started to spread it out that depth and our lack of depth showed.”

Messalonskee cranked up the tempo in the second quarter to get some better looks and gradually pushed the lead into double digits. Good work on the boards by Holmes, Brodeur and Turner (four points, six rebounds) got the Eagles out in transition and some second chances at the offensive end, such as a Turner rebound and kick-out to Taylor Easler for a three-pointer that gave them a 24-11 halftime lead.

“We tried to beat them up the floor before they could set up into it,” Derosby said. “That seemed to work out for us. When we use our athleticism, we can put some points up on the board.”

Rodrigue went with five guards on the floor at times in hopes of creating some tempo and better offensive opportunities off of defense, but the Panthers couldn’t find the range in their halfcourt set (0-for-12 from behind the three-point arc) and the Eagles exploited their size advantage on the other end.

Brodeur scored 13 points in the second half as the Eagles started looking for the 5-foot-10 junior inside. Her three-point play off a feed from Turner made it 38-17 late in the third quarter.

“She’s got a nice touch around the rim,” Derosby said of Brodeur. “For a kid who just started playing inside her freshman year she’s really picking up. When we run things, she can catch anywhere and score. She’s really adapted well to that style of the game. And then she can step out and stretch (the defense).”

Brodeur did just that after Waterville went on a mini run early in the fourth quarter to pull within 13. Brodeur’s 3-pointer with 3:21 left highlighted a 10-0 Messalonskee run that put the Panthers away.

Webb added six points for Waterville.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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