SKOWHEGAN — As the only senior in a Skowhegan starting five stocked with three freshmen and a sophomore, Tracey Swanson knows the deal — the Indians are building for the future.

“I think my role on the team is to keep a calm and neutral (demeanor) and not let everybody freak out,” Swanson said, “and be a good role model for next year.”

Swanson kept her cool and Skowhegan followed her lead to a big win Thursday night.

Swanson poured in 19 points and helped the Indians do enough little things down the stretch to defeat Winslow, 45-42.

“I think this is a really big win,” Swanson said. “They’ve beaten a lot of teams that we’ve lost to. We played really well. I think that’s our highest shooting percentage (41 percent) in a while. We had a few down games and this is a big confidence booster.”

Heather Kervin led Winslow (8-3) with a game-high 20 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Sydney Ames played an excellent all-around game for Skowhegan (5-5) with three points — including a free throw that helped seal the game — eight rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Freshmen Mariah Dunbar and Alyssa Everett each hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter to spark an 8-0 Skowhegan run for a 42-37 lead.

With the Black Raiders pressing to ignite a comeback, Swanson attacked the pressure and drove to the hoop for a layup that was the Indians’ last field goal and made it 44-38 midway through the fourth.

“Tracey played very well,” Skowhegan coach Mike LeBlanc said. “She’s been the glue that’s held us together, especially the last couple of games where we haven’t performed very well. Tracey stepped up and is doing a great job for us.”

“We’ve had moments and spurts where we’ve played like an experienced team and then we’ve had moments and spurts where they’ve played like they’ve never seen a basketball,” LeBlanc added. “We were just fortunate enough to stay with a well-coached, good team from Winslow. My hats off to them. I felt like they out-worked us. We just got the lucky breaks at the end and they didn’t shoot as well as they did in the first half.”

Winslow struggled from the foul line the entire game, making just 6 of 17, compared to 9-for-13 shooting by Skowhegan. The Black Raiders were 2-for-11 from the field in the fourth quarter, missing their first six before a Delaney Wood drive cut Skowhegan’s lead to 44-40. Kervin followed with a steal and layup to make it a two-point game with 3:20 left.

That would be the last field goal for either side. The Black Raiders had several chances to tie or take the lead, including two chances on their penultimate possession, but missed from close range and traveled on the subsequent inbound pass.

“We don’t play through contact,” Winslow coach Lindsey Withee said. “That’s something we’ve been working on as a team, getting stronger and playing through contact. They were a little more physical and they outworked us.”

Winslow fouled Ames after the turnover. She missed the front end of the one-and-one but the rebound rolled out to her a step in front of the free throw line. She was fouled again, putting the Indians into the double bonus with five seconds to go.

Ames missed the first but made the second and the Black Raiders, out of time outs, drove to the hoop instead of trying to get a game-tying 3 off before the buzzer.

Both teams shot well in the first quarter and cooled off quickly in the second. Winslow led by five after back-to-back hoops by Kervin, but Swanson answered with consecutive hoops of her own to pull the Indians within one, 23-22, at halftime.

The teams continued alternating short runs in the third quarter, with Swanson and Kervin scoring seven points apiece as the Raiders maintained their one-point lead headed into the fourth.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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