AUGUSTA — The Skowhegan girls basketball team bore witness to Messalonskee’s metamorphosis into an entirely different team than the one that won the state championship last winter.

The Eagles turned to their role players Wednesday afternoon, unlikely sources coming through in the biggest moments, to produce a 52-49 win over Skowhegan in the Class A North semifinals at the Augusta Civic Center. It was Messalonskee’s third win over the Indians this season — all after the New Year — with this final one propelling the Eagles back to the regional final for a third consecutive year.

Messalonskee (14-6) will play No. 1 Hampden Academy in the final Friday night at 7:05 p.m.

“We know it’s hard to beat a good team three times in a row,” Messalonskee senior K.K. Wilson said. “We wanted to prove something to ourselves and to everybody else that we are a good team. We just wanted to be able to play strong, and we did it.”

Senior point guard Ally Turner was the only Eagle to finish in double figures, with 14 points, but the contributions of Wilson and sophomore Gabrielle Wener — who drilled 3-pointers on consecutive trips down the floor with less than five minutes remaining — answered five quick points for Skowhegan (15-5).

TURNING POINT: Wener made a pair of free throws with 27.4 seconds remaining in regulation to put Messalonskee up by three. A quick inbounds pass for Skowhegan had the Indians setting up shop in their halfcourt offense with 25 second left to play.


The Eagles guarded all four Skowhegan options on the perimeter, and the Indians never got off a potential game-tying 3-pointer. The game effectively ended when Skowhegan’s Sydney Ames fell to the floor and was called for a traveling violation.

“We were looking for penetration and a kick (out),” Skowhegan coach Mike LeBlanc said. “I thought about calling timeout, but I didn’t want them to be able to set up. I figured, well, we’re either going to be able to make a play or we’re not.”

Ames was defended at the top of the key by Turner throughout the final sequence.

“Ally hounding any point guard, you’ve got a 6-foot wingspan guarding your point guard,” Messalonskee coach Keith Derosby said. “It makes it tough to get by.”

FOUL TROUBLE: Skowhegan was in foul trouble throughout the contest, with leading scorer Annie Cooke (13 points) stuck on the bench for most of the second half with four fouls.

“Getting her in foul trouble helps a lot. She’s so dynamic,” Derosby said. “Her catching at the top of the key or at the elbow, and one dribble… She’s so good around the rim.”


Ames also picked up her fourth foul in the second half, as did Lindsey Warren — Cooke’s replacement — and Mariah Dunbar. All the foul trouble left the Indians susceptible in the paint.

“Any time you have your leading scorer sitting on the bench for a quarter and a half, it’s going to hurt,” LeBlanc said. “It’s not an excuse. We just had too many holes to fill, and we weren’t able to fill the last one.”

OFF THE BALL: After scoring 27 points in Messalonskee’s quarterfinal win over Medomak on Friday, Wener had just five points Wednesday. Her 3-pointer with 4:56 remaining tied the game at 42-42, and her two foul shots in the final 30 seconds secured the win.

“They played great defense,” Wener said. “I was a little bit ready for that. It was kind of like a four-and-one zone, where (Dunbar) never played help side. She was always on me. I have full confidence in my teammates to be able to score. I just let my teammates do their thing, and I try to make up for it by playing defense.”

Wener only attempted two shots from the field, signaling her willingness to share the ball and not let herself get frustrated enough to settle for bad looks at the bucket.

“She stayed in the game defensively,” Derosby said. “A lot of times when you have a sophomore in that situation, they’ll just kind of crumple and say, ‘What next?’ She just kept playing… She’s very mature. She knows that she can do a lot, even without putting the ball in the hoop.”


That set the stage for Messalonskee’s supporting cast — with Alyssa Geness and Katie Seekins each scoring nine points and Wilson finishing with eight.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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