AUGUSTA — North Yarmouth Academy coach Tom Robinson describes forward Graca Bila as “high-motor.” If she continues to play as she did on Tuesday, she could be motoring the Panthers to a lengthy postseason stay.

The sophomore forward scored a game-high 15 points as third-seeded NYA pulled away from No. 6 Kents Hill, 52-33, in a Class C South girls basketball quarterfinal Tuesday at the Augusta Civic Center.

NYA (16-2) will play No. 2 Carrabec in the semifinals Thursday in Augusta. No. 6 Kents Hill ended its season 10-5.

Playing well above her 5-foot-7 height, Bila scored six points in the fourth quarter, when her rebounding and steals helped hold Kents Hill to just four points during the period.

“She is high-motor,” Robinson said. “She can run all day; I never have take her out unless I have to. She’s explosive and she’s strong.”

For Bila, what she does on the floor is all about contributing to the greater good.


“I just out there to do my part for the team,” Bila said, “giving the team the opportunities when I have to ball to finish it and always play my hardest, because basketball’s a team game, so I always make sure I give my hardest.”

Bila and the Panthers weren’t the only ones on the court giving their hardest, however. Down 12-4 after one quarter and 30-13 early in the third, Kents Hill went on a 16-5 run to cut the deficit to 35-29 thanks to seven of Logan McDonald’s 11 points, tied for most on the Huskies.

Defensively, Kents Hill’s Phoebe Simpson came off the bench with four big rebounds. But Bila’s basket-and-one with 1:03 left in the period gave NYA some needed breathing room, and Kents Hill scored only four points the rest of the game.

“I thought they did a good job with their defensive game plan in slowing us down,” Robinson said. “Fifty points for us is pretty low; we’re usually a lot higher than that. The first one in Augusta always seems to be the toughest. We did enough on offense, but our defense really stood out.”

North Yarmouth Academy’s Angel Huntsman shoots against Kents Hill during a Class C South girls basketball quarterfinal Tuesday at the Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Sarah English added 13 points for NYA, with a 6-for-8 effort from the free-throw line. Teammate Madilyn Onorato scored nine, including a pair of third-quarter 3-pointers while Kents Hill threatened. Regina Sabirova scored 11 points for Kents Hill, which played only one game last season because of COVID-19.

“Just to get games this season, first and foremost, was a huge win for us,” said Kents Hill coach RJ Jenkins, whose team loses only three seniors. “I was just so pleased with how the players came together; the last couple of weeks we started to play well. We’ve got a lot of kids coming back, so I’m really encouraged. I think we’re motived by this, first, just to get to the Civic Center, and now that we got a taste of what it’s like, we want to come back and win.”

The officials were very free with the whistles, and NYA was already in the bonus before the second quarter was halfway old.

NYA, whose only two regular-season losses were to Class A Brunswick and Class B Wells, defeated Waynflete, 53-35, in the preliminary round Feb. 15.

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