JAY — Spruce Mountain freshman guard Jaydn Pingree decided to leave it all out on the court.

That could also be said for the rest of the Phoenix, who brushed off Monmouth Academy 41-23 in a quarterfinal of the Central Maine Class C/D girls basketball tournament at The Nest on Friday night.

Pingree, who scored the game-high 13 points, felt confident about Friday night’s game.

“I put everything I had into this game,” she said. “I liked my passing and going to the hoop more. In the beginning of the season, I didn’t really do much. I was scared. In this game, I (felt good). We did very good on offense and defense. We had confidence.” 

It was slow going in the first quarter, with both teams struggling to hit their shots.

But the fourth-seeded Phoenix got their act together in the second stanza with a brilliant nine-point run led by Pingree and her sister Jazmine (two 3-pointers, 12 points) — and some timely foul shooting by sophomore guard Mariyah Fournier (5-for-5 at the foul line, nine points).

By halftime, the Phoenix led 20-9 and then opened up on the fifth-seeded Mustangs in the third quarter. The Pingree sisters had a big hand in Spruce’s seven-point run, which also allowed the Phoenix to build a sturdy 29-16 lead. In the fourth, Spruce scored 10 of its 12 points from the charity stripe.

“Our focus has been round things out defensively and take care of the ball offensively,” Spruce Mountain coach Zach Keene said. “It has been good and bad at times — and tonight it came together.

“We moved the ball well offensively and outstanding defensively. Everybody contributed in a positive way. That was one of our best performances this year at the right time.”

Spruce Mountain’s defense restrained Monmouth’s offense, holding the Mustangs to single-digit scoring in all four quarters.

Monmouth’s Emma Johnson, who showed no fear during her drives to the net, scored the team-high 10 points.

“They never quit,” Monmouth coach Katie McAllister said. “Something special about this team is they give it their all. They never quit (on) every possession right down to the end.”

Spruce Mountain now faces No. 1 Hall-Dale in the tournament semifinals next week.


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