Erskine’s Alyssa Savage is pressured by Gardiner’s Katherine Drossel, left, and Jacie Stevens on Monday in South China.

SOUTH CHINA — At halftime, Gardiner girls basketball coach Mike Gray knew his team wasn’t shooting well, and he knew it had too many turnovers. But with a four-point lead, Gray shrugged and knew his team could play better in the second half.

“I know we were up at the half, but it still felt like at the half our defense kept us in it. A lot of nights shooting and turning the ball over like we were you’re not in it,” Gray said.

The Tigers found a little offensive rhythm in the second half, then held off a late Erskine Academy rally to take a 42-38 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A win.

Gardiner (6-2) pushed its lead to 13 points, 40-27, on a Maddie Farnham free throw with 2:34 to play. From there, the Eagles (3-6) went on an 11-2 run, pulling within four points with six seconds left on a Madison Lully basket. Time ran out on the Erskine rally.

“I love that obviously, the no quit in them. Makes it fun to work with,” Erskine coach Mitch Donar said.

Neither team took care of the ball well. Erskine had 25 turnovers, while Gardiner had 23.

“It seemed like we turned it over as quick as we could get it sometimes,” Donar said.

Erskine cut the Tigers lead to two points, 18-16, early in the third quarter, but Gardiner went on an 8-0 run to push its lead to 26-16. Katherine Drossel hit back-to-back threes for the Tigers to build the double digit cushion. A key was moving the ball quickly and getting out in front of the Erskine defense before the Eagles could set up.

“I think we really moved the ball well. We played as a team. We were getting wide open shots with that, and people started making shots,” Gardiner’s Jaycie Stevens, who scored 12 points, said.

Erskine’s Elizabeth Sugg throws to a teammate against Gardiner on Monday in South China.

Defensively, the Tigers’ zone made it tough for Erskine to work the ball inside. For most of the game, Gardiner did well on the defensive boards, limiting the Eagles to one shot.

“I felt our first shot defense was very good tonight, kind of dared them to beat us from the outside, and they didn’t,” Gray said.

“We weren’t surprised, we probably haven’t run this offense enough,” Donar said. “Not many teams have run zone against us.”

Bailey Poore added 10 points and 12 rebounds for Gardiner. Jordan Linscott scored 10 points to lead Erskine, with six coming as the Eagles attempted their fourth quarter comeback. Linscott added nine boards. Emily Clark had six points and 11 rebounds for Erskine.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.