AUGUSTA — Any team looking to win the Class D South girls championship will have climb over a pair of Hills.

Madeline Hill had 22 points, nine steals and six assists, and older sister Brielle Hill added 20 points as the top-seeded Valley girls basketball team dismantled No. 8 Islesboro 68-19 in the D South quarterfinals Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.

The Cavaliers (15-4) will face either No. 4 Pine Tree Academy or No. 5 Vinalhaven in the semifinals Thursday back at the Civic Center. Islesboro finished 4-15.

Kirsten Bigelow, who makes up the other part of Valley’s three-guard attack with the Hills, added 15 points and four steals.

As you might expect from sisters who have played basketball together, the Hills, both Bingham residents, were in almost perfect sync all afternoon. Many an Islesboro pass attempt into the lane was picked off by a Valley defender — usually Madeline, a sophomore — who was more than happy to fire the ball downcourt — usually to Brielle, a senior — for a fast-break bucket.

The Cavaliers had 22 steals to the Eagles’ seven and held a 19-9 advantage in rebounds. For good measure, the 5-4 Madeline Hill had four rebounds and two blocks.


“We’re a running team, and when we run, we’re at our best and that’s what we’re trying to do throughout the game, every game,” Valley coach Gordon Hartwell said. “As long as we get the rebounding and somebody does the dirty work on the other end, it looks pretty good.

“We’re driven by our guards, and when they’re pushing like that, it’s hard for other Class D teams to match up with. Not many Class D teams have three quality guards, and they were looking for each other and moving the basketball. Filling the lane made a difference on the fast break.”

Brielle Hill said the sisters’ familiarity with each other pays off on the scoreboard, although they admitted they avoid playing each other 1-on-1.

“Since we’ve played together for so long now, we know what we’re going to do, and it just works really well,” she said.

Added Madeline: “We go up the court, we look for each other — that’s just how we play.”

Valley also was the top seed in last year’s Class D South tourney, only to be blocked by another hill — Forest Hills — in the semis, 34-29. The Cavaliers gained some degree of revenge when they edged the Tigers 58-57 on opening night despite the absence of Brielle Hill, but the payback won’t be complete until they get another shot at the team that ended their title dream.


Valley has never won a state title and its last state final appearance was in 2009.

“We did not play well (last year), our chemistry was off, we were panicking, we just throwing the ball everywhere,” Brielle said.

Added Hartwell: “We’re a little more focused, I hope, this year.”


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