WINSLOW — Deliberate. Slow. Plodding. Careful. And all of it by design.

Skowhegan continued its undefeated march through the regular season Tuesday night despite an unusual strategy designed to stop its steamroll, topping reigning Class B state champion Winslow 22-14 in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference crossover game that was as much a mind game as it was a physical game.

No player finished in double figures, there were only 32 total field goal attempts combined, neither team hit double figures in any quarter, and the duration of the game in its entirety clocked in at a swift 59 minutes from opening tip to final buzzer.

Winslow sophomore Bodhi Littlefield pressures Skowhegan’s Sydney Ames during a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference game Tuesday night in Winslow.

In the end, Skowhegan improved to 15-0, led by an eight-point effort from senior guard Sydney Ames. Winslow dropped to 10-5 with its second straight loss against a Class A North foe, but that won’t be the final story from this contest.

That will be the unusual game plan Winslow coach Brenda Beckwith devised, and Skowhegan’s willingness to play right into it.

“I think Skowhegan is just like Lawrence, and I couldn’t live through that again,” said Beckwith, whose team was run out of the building in a blowout loss at Lawrence on Friday night. “I decided I was going to give us a fighting chance.

“We weren’t going to run with them. There was no way. They’re very good. They’ve got six or seven players, and they’re all very, very good. That’s how we came up with it — we just said that we didn’t want to get blitzed again.”

The Black Raiders’ first possession lasted more than two minutes and their next one lasted nearly a minute — without a field goal attempt in either. The third possession was more of the same, until the fourth ended in a Bodhi Littlefield (six points) bucket with 2:21 left in the opening quarter.

By that time, Skowhegan enjoyed a 7-2 lead.

And when the second quarter kicked off, and the Indians finally got the ball for the first time with 5:37 left in the period, freshman Jaycie Christopher held the ball near the midcourt line — unguarded — for a full 2:37.

“We had (Annie Cooke) on the bench with two fouls,” Skowhegan coach Mike LeBlanc said. “That’s playing right into us. It was like, ‘We’ll sit here and wait.’ We’ve got the lead and she’s on the bench and can’t help us, so we’ll sit here and wait.”

Emma Duffy’s 3-pointer with 1:26 remaining until halftime ended up as the only points of the second quarter, and Skowhegan went into the break with a 10-2 lead.

“Our team did a pretty good job of keeping our composure and not falling for that,” Ames said. “It was definitely a lot slower than we normally play, but we worked it out. We went along with what was happening.”

“I was very surprised, being that it was a crossover game and knowing that (Winslow) needed this win,” LeBlanc said. “It gave them a chance to slow us down. I don’t know if I agree or disagree with it. It is what it is. She has to coach her team, and I have to coach mine.”

The pace quickened slightly in the third period, though only a bit. When Ames hit her second trey of the night from the left corner, it built a 13-4 Skowhegan lead.

Winslow was then forced to try and play for points and not possession, and that allowed Skowhegan to stretch its legs a bit over the final eight minutes.

Winslow senior Weslee Littlefield dribbles past Skowhegan defenders during a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference game Tuesday night in Winslow.

Winslow’s Silver Clukey connected from beyond the arc to cut the Black Raider deficit to 13-10 with 4:34 remaining, but Cooke’s old-fashioned three-point play, a Christopher putback and Alyssa Everett’s layup against the Winslow press put it out of reach at 22-10 with 1:10 remaining.

A couple of late Black Raider hoops in the final minute inched the home team closer, but it was too far out of reach.

The game ended with Winslow getting a taste of its own medicine: Skowhegan holding the ball for the final 30.3 seconds to ice the victory.

“That was a little too slow for us,” LeBlanc said.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC


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