Lawerence’s Keagan Alley (20) drives to the basket as she is defended by Messalonskee’s Sarah Lowell on Tuesday in Oakland.

OAKLAND — Think of Lawrence as a guard-oriented team no longer.

The oft-undersized Bulldogs dominated the paint, and the glass, and took a big bite out of perennial power Messalonskee, riding a career night from sophomore forward Sarah Poli to a 53-33 win over the Eagles in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A game Tuesday night.

Poli finished with 15 points and 17 rebounds — both career highs — in an effort that left even her coach surprised.

“She hasn’t had that many (rebounds) yet, but she’s a kid with a high motor that’s always going,” Lawrence coach Greg Chesley said. “She’s not giving up on a ball until it’s in somebody’s hands, and even then she might just go get it it from them. She’s always battling.”

Poli provided her biggest impact in the third quarter, when she scored six points with nice inside moves in the lane.

While Messalonskee could boast a pair of 6-footers on the floor at times, the smaller Poli played larger than life.

“I play with a lot of these (Messalonskee) girls on my other teams, so it was a huge drive for me to go and win and get rebounds,” Poli said. “I just use my body and box out all the time.”

Savannah Weston also helped Poli’s cause, coming up just shy of a double-double of her own. The junior added 10 points and seven rebounds. Their work down low helped guard Keagan Alley connect for an 11-point night.

“Size-wise we’re usually undersized,” Chesley said. “But we know that (Wener) usually plays outside, so we felt like tonight might be the one night we might actually have a size advantage. Sarah and Savannah Weston both worked so hard. They just battle every single time.”

Lawrence’s Sarah Poli (34) scores from the paint as she is defended by Messalonskee’s Katie Seekins, left, Emily Parent, back center, and Alyssa Genness, right, in the first quarter Tuesday in Oakland.

Poli had only three points in the first half, but she had eight rebounds as Messalonskee (0-2) never got out of the starting gate. Lawrence (2-0) opened up a 14-3 lead by holding the Eagles without a field goal until Bri Benecke — one of four Eagles with six points on the night, along with Gabrielle Wener, Alyssa Genness and Danielle Hall — finally got a hook shot to fall with 6:42 left in the second quarter.

Messalonskee shot just 10.5 percent from the floor in the first half.

“You’re not going to win many games like that,” Messalonskee coach Keith Derosby said. “On the other side, they shot the ball really well. That’s what it comes down to is putting the ball in the basket. They were able to do that more much more efficiently.”

Lawrence added to a 26-12 halftime lead by opening the third quarter with a 15-5 run that built the lead to 42-17 with 1:23 left in the period, and the rout was on.

Poli finally came out of the game with just over a minute left. That’s when she finally relented.

“This was very good,” Poli said of the win. “I never relaxed. Not until I sat on the bench.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC


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