BANGOR — The Waterville Senior High School girls basetball team won the opening tip, as they often do, but instead of a layup and a quick lead, the Purple Panthers turned the ball over.

The Class B North girls basketball final was that kind of game for Waterville. Just when something appeared to be going right, it quickly veered wrong.

Mt. Desert Island withstood Waterville’s defensive pressure while playing strong defense of its own, taking a 44-35 win Saturday afternoon at Cross Insurance Center. No. 1 MDI, now 19-2, will face Gray-New Gloucester next Saturday in the Class B state game at Portland’s Cross Insurance Arena. Waterville, the three seed, ends the season at 20-1.

Waterville’s Sadie Garling scored 18 points in a semifinal win over Hermon and 19 in a quarterfinal victory over John Bapst. The Trojans held her to three, a single 3-pointer in the second quarter. Jayda Murray had seven against Hermon and 12 against Bapst, but was scoreless against MDI before fouling out with 5:39 left in the game.

“We knew we were going to have to close out on them fast, so our defense was going to have to be quick. We were going to have to communicate the whole time, and I think we did a very good job stepping up on that,” MDI senior Julia Watras, who scored a game-high 17 points, said.

“I think they did a good job of identifying where Sadie was in the zone. That’s a big part of it. We didn’t make as many shots as we typically do. A lot of times when we’ve faced zone, we’ve been able to hit outside shots,” Waterville coach Rob Rodrigue said. “The thing I was most impressed with was their ability to handle our pressure.”

While Waterville’s full-court pressure helped force 25 MDI turnovers, the Panthers were unable to convert those turnovers into transition points. After turning the ball over 15 times in the first half, the Trojans cut their turnovers to 10 in the second half, expanding a five point halftime lead to 13, 35-22, late in the third quarter on a Watras basket.

Waterville’s Sadie Garling (24) looks to pas the ball as she is defended by Mt. Desert Island’s Hannah Chamberlain (41) in the second half in the Class B North championship game Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

“I think they were a lot faster than we expected, but that was all right. We came back in the second half and cut down the unforced turnovers we had (in the first half),” Watras said.

MDI led 22-17 at the half, and Watras said halftime discussion centered around starting the third quarter strong and building the lead. The Trojans opened the second half with an 8-2 run, pushing the lead to double digits on a Watras bucket with 3:08 left in the quarter, 30-19. After needing a Watras three at the buzzer to tie Winslow and send their semifinal game to overtime, the Trojans did not want another nailbiter.

“We didn’t want this to come down to the wire, because nobody needs that stress,” Watras said.

Foul trouble was a factor for the Panthers. Along with Murray, Paige St. Pierre was in foul trouble in the second half. St. Pierre fouled out with 2:29 to play with four points and seven rebounds. With Murray and St. Pierre in foul trouble, Waterville was forced to play long stretches without its starting backcourt on the floor.

“We didn’t have a guard on the floor for half the game. They’re our two perimeter ball handlers. We talk about our transition game, they fuel a lot of that,” Rodrigue said.

Kali Thompson came off the bench to score 12 points and grab 10 rebounds for Waterville.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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