WINSLOW — According to Latin principle, good things come in threes. You don’t have to convince the Winslow girls basketball team of that.

The No. 6 Black Raiders finally found their stroke in the third quarter Tuesday night and rode a blistering final three minutes of the period to a 48-37 win over No. 11 Orono in a Class B North preliminary round game. Senior forward Haley Ward scored a game-high 14 points for Winslow (14-5), which advanced to meet No. 3 Mount Desert Island in the regional quarterfinals Friday in Bangor.

The win marked the third time Winslow beat Orono (5-14) this season, after twice handing the Red Riots defeats in the first half of the regular season, and was the third straight win for the Raiders dating back to a loss to rival Waterville on Feb. 2.

TURNING POINT: The Black Raiders broke a 19-19 tie with 2:36 left in the third quarter by closing out the period on a 14-4 run, highlighted by four 3-pointers during the stretch. Sophomore Silver Clukey (11 points) and senior Madison Roy (eight points) each drilled a pair of treys during the blitz.

“Things started falling for us,” Clukey said. “We were getting the offense moving, and I think it was just a matter of executing all of the different plays well.”

It was a noticeable turnaround from the first half, when Winslow shot just 16 percent from the field (4 for 25), despite forcing Orono into 12 turnovers over the first 16 minutes of the contest.


“I just knew it was a matter of executing down the stretch,” Winslow coach Lindsey Withee said. “We have a great group of girls that go 100 percent, so it was just going to be a matter of down the stretch executing.”

INSIDE-OUT: With Winslow finding its range from the perimeter, it made life much easier for Ward in the lane. She scored eight of her 14 points in the second half, including all six of her fourth-quarter points from the paint.

“The first half kind of caught us off guard,” Ward said. “A couple of big shots in the third quarter really kept us going. When my teammates hit big shots, they’ve got to come out and guard us. We’re fast enough, we’re quick enough, we have enough talent that we can go right by them. Having both of those factors really plays into our favor.”

“She’s done a great job all season long — and for the last two years — for us,” Withee added. “She’s not a very big girl, but her presence inside really helped us. She was able to open up more shots on the outside.”

Ward also finished with five rebounds, four of which came after halftime. Orono out-rebounded the Raiders by a 21-10 count in the first half, something Ward said she took personally.

“We work on rebounding every single day in practice,” Ward said. “We knew they had size on us. That’s been a disadvantage for us all season, but we took some pride and boxed them out and did our job.”


CENTRAL MAINE RETURN: With the loss, Orono coach John Donato finished his first season at the helm of the Red Riots. Donato, who has 552 career coaching wins, was previously at Lawrence, where he led the Bulldogs to the 2015 state championship.

“I’m just trying to establish some competitive spirit,” said Donato, who only had one senior among his seven-player rotation. “We’ve got a lot of kids back, but if we don’t work on our skills we’re going to be in the same (position) treading water.”

Donato’s team threw a diamond-and-one defense at Winslow on Tuesday, which helped keep Orono in the contest. But 18 turnovers and just a 17-for-31 (54.8 percent) clip from the free throw line was the visitors’ undoing.

“When we beat people — and we haven’t beaten many of them — we’ve stayed in games because of our foul shots. That kind of hurt us at the end,” Donato said. “But they haven’t been here in two years. You put them in this atmosphere, you don’t know what you’re going to get.”

“We hadn’t seen a diamond-and-one from them before,” Withee said. “We knew they’d come in and give it 110 percent. They’re very well-coached. Kudos to them, they played well. I have a lot of respect for that team.”

Donato also coached Messalonskee for nine years and Mount View for five during his four decades of coaching.


UP NEXT: Winslow will meet No. 3 MDI (14-4) in the regional quarterfinals at 5 p.m. Friday at Bangor’s Cross Insurance Arena. The two teams did not meet during the regular season.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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