AUGUSTA — Annie Cooke didn’t need much, and her night didn’t go exactly according to plan, but the Skowhegan senior topped the 1,000-point mark for her career in the team’s Class A North quarterfinal win over Camden Hills on Friday night at the Augusta Civic Center.

Cooke, who finished with 11 points, hit 1,000 with an offensive rebound off a Mariah Dunbar miss and a putback to hand the Indians a 30-22 lead midway through the third quarter.

“It feels pretty good,” Cooke said.

Cooke has been the engine on a senior-laden Skowhegan group for several seasons now. She knew the milestone was well within in reach, but was also humbled by joining an elite scorer’s club.

“I thought I was going to get it earlier, but that’s OK,” Cooke said. “You just roll with it.”

After picking up two fouls in the first 92 seconds of the game, Cooke went to the bench and did not return until the start of the second half.

She finished with 11 points and seven rebounds, four of those on the offensive glass.

“It’s a great honor,” Skowhegan coach Mike LeBlanc said. “It’s a testament to her hard work and her teammates’ ability to get her the ball. They know she’s probably the (premier) scorer we have, and they do a good job of getting her the ball.”

Skowhegan (19-0) will face No. 5 Messalonskee in the regional semifinals on Tuesday. The Indians swept the two-game regular season series in dominating fashion this winter.

• • •

Forest Hills boys coach Anthony Amero is leaving nothing to chance this season.

The Tigers entered the Class D South tournament as the No. 1 seed, thanks to an 18-0 regular season. They improved to 19-0 after an 85-33 victory over No. 8 Seacoast Christian on Saturday in the quarterfinal round at the Augusta Civic Center.

As usual, it was a long trip for the team, as it is 214 miles round-trip from the Jackman school to the Civic Center, an estimated time of 4 hours and 18 minutes.

In past years, the team has stayed at a nearby hotel. But not this year.


Bad luck.

“I’m 0-for-6 in my career with hotels at the tournament,” Amero said. “In my first six seasons, I said, ‘It’s got to be the hotel. It can’t be my lack of coaching, or my screw ups, it’s got to be the hotel, right?’ So we said no more hotels. A couple years ago, we left at 5 a.m. for a tournament game, an 8:30 game, and we won that one. So we were like, ‘We’re going with this.’”

While some of the players stayed in a hotel Friday night, most of the squad — along with Amero — left early Saturday morning.

Considering the result Saturday, it will likely be another early travel day Wednesday when the Tigers play Greenville in the semifinals.

• • •

One of the loudest cheers during the Hampden-Skowhegan game Saturday came well before the final buzzer.

With 1:16 left in the first quarter and Hampden at the free throw line, the Broncos fans roared when center Marc Hutchings was subbed into the game. It was the senior’s first appearance in a game since he was injured in a plow truck accident on January 9, one that sent him to the hospital with a broken pelvis, clavicle and multiple ribs.

Hutchings scored two points on a pair of free throws, and coach Russ Bartlett praised his recovery after the game.

“A month ago, he was almost dead. Now he’s able to come back and contribute a little bit tonight,” Bartlett said. “It was just nice to see him out playing again.”

Bartlett said a return seemed like a longshot until Hutchings visited a doctor on Tuesday and told his coach he’d been cleared.

“I felt like, by Wednesday, he could probably help us, and he showed in practice he could help us tonight,” Bartlett said. “He did a conditioning drill with us with the ball on Thursday, and looked good. He shot the ball well in practice.”

Bartlett said Hutchings’s stamina was affected by the recovery, but that he impressed in the minutes he got.

“I thought he did fine,” Bartlett said. “He obviously didn’t have his game legs, but he knew what we needed from him. It was just good to have him around.”

• • •

A pair of freshmen helped the Brewer boys basketball team earn the A North tournament’s first upset.

Guards Aaron Newcomb III and Colby Smith played key roles as the sixth-seeded Witches knocked off No. 3 Mt. Blue 71-60. The two ran the Witches’ offense throughout the contest, with Newcomb finishing with 14 assists and Smith notching seven assists.

Coach Ben Goodman said he had no reservations about leaning on a pair of first-year players in the big spot.

“I don’t anymore,” he said. “They’ve really grown towards the end of the season, where they’ve been able to handle this kind of pressure. They’re a funny two guys. We’ll ask them, ‘Are you nervous about the game tonight?’ ‘No, it’s just another game.’ They’ll come and play.”

• • •

The quote of the weekend belongs to Medomak Valley coach Ryan McNelly.

After Lawrence pulled away to a 57-33 win over the Panthers in an A North quarterfinal, McNelly was asked about how the Bulldogs turned a three-point game at halftime into a blowout.

“We got gassed,” McNelly said. “And Brooklynn Lambert is awesome.”

Lambert scored 15 of her game-high 18 points in the second half. Ten of those came in the fourth quarter.

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