OAKLAND — The Sophie Holmes show made its appearance, as expected. But as the Messalonskee High School girls basketball team showed Waterville — and the rest of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference — the strength of the Eagles runs far deeper.

Holmes scored 16 points, McKenna Brodeur had 13 and Messalonskee put forth another dominant effort in a season full of them, brushing off Waterville 64-21.

“We know that we have to prove (it) every night,” said Holmes, who added six rebounds. “Any team can beat us, and every night we want to beat them by a large margin to prove that we are the team to beat.”

Few teams can beat Messalonskee (7-0) when it plays the way it did Wednesday night. Three players scored in double figures and five had eight or more points for the Eagles, who seemed to click no matter who had the ball, or from where on the court they shot it.

“We’ve really worked on ball movement. Including everybody, getting contributions, however small, from one to 10,” coach Keith Derosby said. “I was really proud of the effort the girls put in tonight. This is a tough Waterville team that’s going to win a lot of games.”

Messalonskee was far from perfect at the start, opening with five straight misses and taking only a 10-6 lead into the second quarter. None of the Eagles, however, were fazed.

“The first quarter is not our strongest suit,” Brodeur said. “But when we don’t score a lot in the first quarter, we just think we need to keep going, get quicker.”

The formula worked, with Messalonskee leaning on its star guard to pull away. Holmes knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to up the advantage to 16-6, and then after Brodeur turned two steals into layups in transition, Holmes hit her third 3 to increase the lead to 23-7 with 3:29 to go in the half.

It was part of a 16-1 run to start the quarter, and it was effectively the end of the game. Holmes finished with nine points in the quarter, giving her 14 for the half, and Messalonskee was ahead 32-10 at the break.

“We lost track of Sophie,” said Waterville coach Rob Rodrigue, whose team fell to 3-3. “When you get a shooter going, she sees a couple go through the net, she’s a knock-down shooter. That’s what she is. We knew it coming in, and we didn’t find her in our defense.”

The Eagles kept pouring it on in the third, pouncing all over Waterville’s errant passes and missed shots and taking a 48-15 lead by the quarter’s end.

“If we work the ball and go fast, we can beat any team,” Brodeur said. “If people slow us down, it’s harder for us to get going. We have to go quick, and then we’ll get more baskets.”

Holmes took a backseat with the game out of reach, but her teammates kept up the pace. Gabrielle Wener scored five points in the third on her way to 10 for the game, and Brodeur, the other half of Messalonskee’s duo in the post, had four. Katie Seekins and Alyssa Genness finished with eight points for the game.

“Even if a team tries to lock down McKenna or lock down Gabrielle, we still have Emily Parent, Lydia Dexter, Ally Turner,” Holmes said. “All 10 of us can do the same thing. We’re deep this year, for sure.”

The defense was just as impressive. The Eagles held the Panthers to one field goal in the second and third quarters combined, and Jordan Jabar, Waterville’s talented forward, finished with 11 points while being hounded aggressively by Turner.

“Ally’s been begging for that for years,” Derosby said. “She wants to be on the best players.”

The offensive and defensive combination was simply too much for the Panthers. Rodrigue knew his team could have played better, but was ready to tip his cap afterward.

“To be honest with you, I expected it to be a little more competitive. … We didn’t show our best,” said Rodrigue, whose team got seven rebounds from Jabar and five from Maddie Martin. “(But) I think they’re the best in the conference. I don’t know anyone as good as them. They play eight or nine deep, and they’ve got kids coming off the bench, their eighth or ninth kid, knocking down threes.”

The Eagles don’t regard themselves in such reverential tone, however.

“They really have a good perspective,” Derosby said. “They’re confident, but I don’t think it’s ever reached a point where they just walk into a gym feeling they’re going to win.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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