WINSLOW — The more things change, the more they stay the same.

With essentially the same returning five that carried the Black Raiders to the Class B state championship last winter, the Winslow girls basketball team continued its impressive start to the new season with a 65-30 win over Maranacook in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference game Tuesday night. Three different Black Raiders hit double figures, led by junior Silver Clukey’s 15, and Winslow improved to 4-0.

With so many returning faces, including four of the five starters from last season’s title team, new coach Brenda Beckwith has simply opened more options for Winslow. And those options are just making the Raiders much more difficult to deal with than they were a year ago.

“It’s easier because they do have skills and they already have some concepts,” Beckwith said. “(Former coach Lindsey Withee) did a great job with that. You can say something to them, and they can make that adjustment.”

Winslow’s Maeghan Bernard, right, drives past Maranacook’s Amanda Goucher during a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference game Tuesday in Winslow.

“We’re playing a really fast-paced game, getting down the floor and playing some really good defense,” Clukey said.

The Raiders flew out of the starting gates, scoring the game’s first 11 points en route to a 19-5 lead after one quarter of play. Clukey closed out the period with a pair of 3-pointers from the left corner inside the final two minutes.

With point guard Weslee Littlefield adding 10 points and Grace Smith coming off the bench to contribute 11 of her own — nine in the second half — it was the kind of balanced scoring the Raiders rely on.

“It’s true with any team, once you start getting down lower in your bench, it’s a good thing,” Beckwith said.

But offense wasn’t the only thing carrying Winslow against the Black Bears.

After making 6 of 17 attempts from the field in the opening quarter, the Raiders cooled in the second period to the tune of 2 of 14 from the field. They still managed to extend their lead, however, thanks to a defense that alternated from half-court zone to several different full-court pressure sets.

Winslow’s Weslee Littlefield blocks a pass from Maranacook’s Amanda Goucher during a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference game Tuesday in Winslow.

They went into the break with a 30-9 lead, having forced Maranacook into 16 turnovers in the opening 16 minutes.

“Our defense keeps us in the game,” Clukey said. “It gives us those steals and those extra tips underneath (the basket) that we need to really keep the game in our hands. We have so many different sets — we have zones, we have presses, we have half-court defenses. We’re really pressuring the ball.”

“When you have an opportunity that you can mix things up, then you should do that,” Beckwith said. “I will never be a coach that just relies on one thing, and my kids are starting to understand that. Don’t be one-dimensional.”

A 23-point third quarter for the home team ballooned the lead to 53-18 by the time the fourth quarter started.

Sophomore Kate Mohlar finished with 10 points for Maranacook, which started just one senior. Gabrielle Green added nine more for the Black Bears.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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