AUGUSTA — If it wasn’t a perfect start to Friday’s A North quarterfinal for the Skowhegan girls basketball team, it was pretty close.

Jaycie Christopher scored 24 points, Maddy Morris added 18, and the top-seeded and undefeated River Hawks overwhelmed No. 8 Brewer 76-26 at the Augusta Civic Center.

Annabelle Morris added 12 points and Callaway LePage scored eight for the River Hawks (19-0). Makayla Dore led the Witches (6-14) with 10 points.

“We have multiple weapons,” Skowhegan coach Mike LeBlanc said. “And when we’re able to use them and get good results out of them, we’re going to be tough to beat. We have to still bring our defensive intensity, that’s where it all starts.”

The River Hawks immediately buried the Witches with a blistering first-half performance. Skowhegan was up 12-0 less than three minutes into the game, and ahead 20-2 after five minutes. The River Hawks shot 75 percent from the field (9-for-12) en route to a 28-7 first-quarter lead, getting 10 points from Maddy Morris and seven from Annabelle Morris.

Skowhegan didn’t cool off much in the second quarter, going into halftime with a 53-11 lead after Christopher scored 16 points in the period to reach 22 by the break.


“We talked a lot in the locker room before the game about just trusting each other and having confidence in yourself,” said Christopher, who added six rebounds. “If you believe in yourself and believe in the team, everything else will fall into place. Just believe.”

Christopher, the school’s all-time leading scorer, hit four 3-pointers in the second quarter alone, but spent most of the first half finding open teammates. And when she found them for shots, they hit them.

“We’ve been working really hard on getting other kids open, and Jay, everything she does just amazes me,” LeBlanc said. “Her patience, not allowing the game to dictate her but her dictating the game. And she knows how to get her teammates open. When she does, they knock down shots and we’re pretty good.”

“It feels really good,” Christopher said about seeing the balanced scoring. “You talk all year about wanting to play your best basketball in February. To be able to come out and see some kids that have never played here not look nervous and play and knock down shots and have confidence in themselves, that’s huge.”

Skowhegan’s Madalynne Morris waits to shoot as Brewer’s Riley Umel jumps in front of her during a Class A North girls basketball quarterfinal game Friday at the Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

One of those players, Maddy Morris, looked jitter-free with the ball in her hands. She said she didn’t feel that way before the game started.

“I’ve been thinking about this game all week, and I was very nervous coming into this game,” she said. “But as soon as I stepped on the court, I hit the first shot and I just felt comfortable after that.”


If any other Skowhegan players were feeling nerves, it didn’t show.

“When we hit shots, we collaborate and we all work together,” Maddy Morris said. “Especially when others hit and it’s not just one person. And definitely our transition helps, getting up the floor and down the floor and running.”

It was the perfect way to start a tournament. But the River Hawks know that’s all they’ve done — gotten things started.

“It all has to happen, but the job ain’t done,” Maddy Morris said. “We didn’t come here to just win one game and leave.”

And if there’s pressure that comes with Skowhegan’s standing — undefeated, top seed, best player in the bracket — the River Hawks showed they know how to play with it.

“We just want to control what we can control,” Christopher said. “We can control how hard we play, how we play defensively. It’s basically just doing that, doing what we can, taking care of what we can on our own and hoping the rest falls into place.”

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