SKOWHEGAN — It wasn’t supposed to be this easy. Not on paper, at least. This was supposed to be one of the challenges for the undefeated Messalonskee girls basketball team, a Skowhegan squad enjoying a strong season of its own and occupying a spot high up in the balanced, competitive Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference.

Wednesday night was supposed to be a different story. Instead, an Eagles team that has looked downright invincible at times appeared to have saved its best game of the year.

A white-hot Sophie Holmes and scalding cast of teammates simply overwhelmed the Indians, as Messalonskee (12-0) hit 12 3-pointers en route to a resounding 92-53 victory at Skowhegan, its most potent offensive showing of the season by 15 points.

Shot after shot went in, pass after pass found its way through traffic, and Skowhegan coach Mike LeBlanc could only chuckle as his players walked off the court when it was all over.

“You can’t stop that,” he said. “When they shoot the ball like that, not many teams are going to have a chance.”

Going in, Skowhegan looked like one of the few that might. The Indians (8-4) have been steady all season, overcoming a roster in which freshmen and sophomores make up 11 of 12 spots to climb into Class A’s top pack.

A win Wednesday night would have been a breakthrough for Skowhegan’s up-and-coming squad. Instead, Messalonskee recognized the opportunity to make yet another emphatic impression.

“They really, as a team, focus on that next game up, so we’ve really been hyping it,” coach Keith Derosby said. “I think the extra day off yesterday, knowing what this meant for both Skowhegan and us … that helped amp the kids up a little bit and get them focused.”

It showed. Upset hopes were in peril after the first, with Messalonskee ahead 24-15, and dead at halftime with the Eagles cruising 46-21 and playing efficiently enough to impress even the man who watches them play every day.

“I think I’m the lucky one to have them,” Derosby said. “It’s a pleasure. They don’t take any game for granted. I don’t even think they realize how good they could be.”

Everyone contributed — Messalonskee had four players in double figures — but it was Holmes whose shooting stroke defined the night for the Eagles. The senior guard caught fire early and never cooled, draining five 3-pointers en route to a game-high 33 points.

“It’s good to get confident and think we’re good, but it’s important not to think we’re that good,” said Holmes, who also led the team with seven rebounds. “We try to play every game like it’s a state championship game, come in and play four quarters strong, offensively and defensively.”

Holmes had eight points in the first, but she put on a dazzling display in the second as the Eagles picked up the pace. She scored 10 points in a minute and a half, hitting three straight shots, the last a 3-pointer, and then after a Makayla Wilson basket, drained another 3-pointer to make it 36-15 with just over four minutes to go in the second quarter.

“With this team, with McKenna (Brodeur) inside and Gabrielle (Wener’s) height and Ally (Turner’s) height, we get an inside-out game, so it opens up those 3-pointers for our shooters,” Holmes said. “It makes it a lot easier to get open looks and open shots and open drives to the rim.”

The Eagles kept up the attack in the third, with Wilson (13 points), Brodeur (12), Wener (11) and Turner (nine) taking turns leading the charge. There was still room for a few more Holmes highlights, particularly a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the third quarter that left LeBlanc shaking his head and a steal, rebound, jumper and 3-pointer package early in the fourth that ended her night.

“Defensively, we can’t defend that,” LeBlanc said. “They can shoot over us because they’re bigger than we are, and they move the ball well. Many teams aren’t going to stop that tonight. I was proud of our effort.”

The Indians didn’t quit. The 53 points would be a fine output most nights, and Skowhegan had reliable scoring options in Emma Duffy (12 points), Mariah Dunbar (11) and Alyssa Everett (10), while Annie Cooke was the night’s best rebounder with 11 boards.

“They played hard,” LeBlanc said. “I was happy with their performance, and how they got after it.”

They just didn’t have enough. More and more, it’s the sentiment with which the Eagles’ opponents — whoever they are — are leaving one loss after another.

“There’s a lot of teams that can beat us on any night. You’ll never catch us thinking that way,” Derosby said. “You still have to give it your best every night, and if we can do that, we’ve just got so many kids that can score.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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