WATERVILLE — Neither team was particularly happy with the brand of basketball they played through the first three quarters Tuesday night, but the Waterville girls found enough of their game in the final period to pull out a 41-27 win over Erskine Academy in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A game at Donovan Gymnasium.

Senior Jordan Jabar scored 11 of her game-high 15 points in the fourth quarter for the Purple Panthers (5-3), who made 7 of 11 shots from the field in the final eight minutes.

“Thankfully, people stepped up, but it was definitely not our best for the first three quarters at all,” Jabar said. “We had a big talk. We said, ‘This is not our team. This is not what we’re capable of.’ If we’re going to allow the refs to dictate the game, if we’re going to allow this team to beat us, then we’re not where we thought we were.

“I think that was a big thing for us.”

It had been a struggle for both teams, to say the least, through the first three quarters. Waterville managed to hold a 19-16 lead entering the fourth, despite shooting a woeful 13 percent from the floor (6 of 44) up to that point. For a team that entered the week holding onto the sixth spot in the Class A North standings, it knows the shooting will have to improve over the second half of the season.

“We’ve struggled to shoot the ball,” Waterville coach Rob Rodrigue said. “Teams know that. It’s no secret to anybody. I do like the way we get after it on the defensive end and get into the open court. We’ve got some young kids who can shoot it… so it’s just about catching them up to speed with what we’re doing sometimes.”

One of those young players is freshman guard Sadie Garling (12 points), who had her shooting touch early. She connected on a pair of 3-point buckets in the first quarter to stake the Panthers out to an 8-4 lead, but like the rest of her teammates, that stroke vacated the premises over the next two quarters. It resurfaced just in time to solve Erskine’s 2-3 zone in the fourth, as Garling hit from beyond the arc from both the right and left wings on successive attempts. The second of those came with five minutes remaining to open up a 29-19 Waterville lead.

Jabar banked one in off the glass and made five of six free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

“I was definitely frustrated after the third quarter,” Jabar said. “My attitude toward the game changed (in the fourth quarter), and I think a lot of us realized that if we want this, we’re going to have to work for it.”

For Erskine, turnovers in the face of Waterville’s full-court pressure throughout the night caused most of the Eagles’ problems. With leading scorer Catherine Silva sidelined by injury, Erskine didn’t have a go-to presence on the floor.

In all, the Eagles (2-8) committed 30 turnovers. Four of those came on their first five possessions of the final period — allowing Waterville to finally find some offensive rhythm with easy buckets in transition.

“Their pressure is definitely something not to be shyful about,” Erskine coach Mitch Donar said. “We’re real good at turning the ball over. Our composure at times was better than it has been, believe it or not, despite all those turnovers.”

Freshman Jordan Linscott tried her best to make up for the loss of Silva, finishing with a team-high 10 points.

“We’ve got all kinds of athletes out here,” Rodrigue said of his team’s success with the press. “We’ve got speed to burn, and the athletes to burn it. Getting into the open court only benefits us offensively.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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