The Waterville girls basketball team has played just seven games this season, and coach Joy Charles said it’s facing a crunch as it tries to get as many games in as possible before Feb. 10, the last day for countable regular-season games to be played. Entering Monday, Waterville had 10 games scheduled over a 17-day period.

Waterville, which began the week at 6-1 and on a six-game winning streak, was sidelined by a COVID-19 shutdown that kept the Purple Panthers out of action from Dec. 23 to Jan. 12. Charles said she’ll make sure to work in off days to help with the busy schedule.

“It looks like from here on out we’ve got three games per week,” Charles said. “We’ll try to get them the appropriate rest time. You don’t forget how to play basketball with a day off, I believe in a rest day.”

It’ll still be a frantic finish, and for a team with only nine players on the varsity roster, that could prove particularly taxing. Charles, though, said she’s not worried.

Waterville’s Keira Gilman (4) fouls John Bapts’ Lily Higgins (14) during a Jan. 21 girls basketball game in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“I’m not concerned that they can’t make the effort on the court,” she said. “We’ve fought through every single obstacle so far, and hopefully moving forward we don’t have to face that many obstacles in terms of games being canceled and make-ups and whatnot.”

Senior point guard Keira Gilman said the team’s put an emphasis on conditioning in practice, and that she thinks that will pay off.


“In practice, we really get up and down the court,” she said. “I think we’ll be ready for it.”


• • •


The Cony boys squad will get its second look at Cooper Flagg and Nokomis on Tuesday evening in Newport.

The Warriors (11-1), the top team in Class A North, handled the Rams (9-3) with ease in an 80-53 drubbing on Jan. 8.


Cony coach TJ Maines said he hopes the Rams are better prepared for the Warriors — winners of 10 straight — in the rematch.

Erskine’s Liam Perfetto, left, plays defense on Cony’s Luke Briggs during a Jan. 18 boys basketball game in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“You can watch them on film and read about them, but nothing prepares you better than playing them,” he said. “I think it’s always good to know what it is you’re dealing with.”

The Rams will certainly be dealing with a dominant foe. Nokomis has won its last four games by at least 27 points.

“They’re tough,” Maines said. “We are not at that level yet, but we’re hoping we can get there.”


• • •



The Skowhegan girls put forth another dominant effort in a 50-35 win over Lawrence in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A showdown Thursday night. Skowhegan  (11-0) swept the regular-season meetings with the Bulldogs (8-2).

Skowhegan provided plenty of offense, including a 16-0 run between the third and fourth quarters that helped seal the game. Junior Callaway LePage led the way with 21 points and nine rebounds, while senior Jaycie Christopher added 19 points.

But it was the defensive effort that provided the River Hawks a big spark. Skowhegan forced 23 turnovers out of Lawrence.

Lawrence’s Brianna Poulin, grabs a rebound away from Skowhegan’s Callaway LePage during a Jan. 20 girls basketball game in Skowhegan. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

“Our defense has been good,” LePage said. “We’re not going to be the biggest team, we know that, we have to all contribute. Whether it’s giving pressure to the ball, help someone out when someone is posting up. We knew (Thursday) we had to be out on the shooters, we know who is going to be a shooter. At halftime, (Skowhegan head coach) Mike (LeBlanc) really put it on us to crash the boards. I think that’s what helped, too.”

The River Hawks don’t possess a lot of size, but they have the ability to get in the way of passing lanes and tip passes for turnovers. Skowhegan did it several times against the Bulldogs, not only forcing turnovers, but keeping Lawrence to just two points in the third quarter.


“(LeBlanc) he’s always like, ‘(Get) up on the ball and pressure,’” LePage said. “That’s going to get us the turnovers and free layups, running away. That’s how we’re going to give ourselves a better shot than just getting a turnover.”

“We know we have some athletic and long kids,” Christopher added. “It’s just using that and figuring out how we can rotate and work together. Defense, really, takes all five (players) to guard the person with the ball. It’s just a matter of rotating, playing with each other and trusting each other that everybody else is in the right spots.”


• • •


The Winslow boys have dealt with their share of adversity this winter, including a shutdown as a result of COVID-19 safety protocols.


The Black Raiders (8-2) went 11 days without playing a game, which sets up a frantic stretch to the proverbial finish line.

“We have eight games and six practices in the last three weeks,” coach Ken Lindloff said. “We’ve had a number of absences with COVID. It seems like we’re either playing games but not practicing, or practicing without any games. It’s been tough but we take every challenge as it is. We accept it and try to persevere.”

Lindloff added that Winslow is as close to full strength this week as it has been all season.

“That’s been good,” he said. “We are getting healthier.”


Sports editor Bill Stewart and staff writer Dave Dyer contributed to this story.

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