A Waterville player takes a shot over the defense of a Winslow player during a preliminary-round game in the A/B Central Maine Basketball Tournament on Tuesday in Waterville. Photo by Heidi Bernier

WATERVILLE — It was a slow start for the Waterville girls basketball team, but once the Purple Panthers found a rhythm at both ends of the court, they pulled away for a 43-30 win over rival Winslow in the preliminary round of the Class A/B girls Central Maine Basketball Tournament.

No. 6 Waterville (10-3) will play at No. 3 Erskine Academy (8-4) in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m., Thursday. No. 11 Winslow ends the season at 1-12.

Winslow scored the first seven points of the game, and led 8-5 after one quarter. Defensively, the Black Raiders clogged things up in the paint, forcing Waterville to settle for shots from the perimeter.

“They did a good job packing it in, and we weren’t hitting shots,” Waterville coach Rob Rodrigue said.

The Waterville and Winslow girls teams play in a preliminary-round game in the A/B Central Maine Basketball Tournament on Tuesday in Waterville. Photo by Heidi Bernier

Trailing 11-8 early in the second quarter, Waterville went on an 11-0 run to take the lead for good. The Panthers’ fullcourt pressure started to get to Winslow, and Waterville converted turnovers into points. Paige St. Pierre’s layup off a steal midway through the second quarter gave Waterville the lead for good.

Waterville built its lead in the third quarter, continuing to apply pressure and force turnovers.


“In the second half, we started to pick it up,” said Waterville’s Kali Thompson, who had 12 points and 16 rebounds. “Coach (Rodrigue) set up a few plays to get us some looks.”

Containing Thompson was the focus of Winslow’s defense, coach Brenda Beckwith said. Waterville’s adjustment, moving Thompson from the low post to high, opened things up for the Panthers against the Black Raiders zone.

“She stayed in the high post and she tore us apart from there,” Beckwith said. “She just rebounds so well, and she got some chances from those, too.”

Ahead 33-23 after three quarters, Coltrane McRae hit a three to push the Panthers’ lead to 36-23. Winslow mounted a small run, cutting Waterville’s lead to 37-30 midway through the quarter, but the Panthers closed the game with a 6-0 run and played patient stall ball to bleed the clock.

Kiera Gilman added 10 points for Waterville, while Lindsay Given grabbed eight boards.

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