SOUTH CHINA — The third time proved to be the charm for the Maine Central Institute girls basketball team.

Aleah Harris’ layup with 5 seconds left in overtime sealed a 49-47 win for the No. 10 Huskies over No. 7 Erskine Academy in a Class B North prelim game at the Nelson Gym.

MCI (10-9) moves on to face No. 2 Old Town in the B North quarterfinals at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. The Huskies were led offensively by Skyla Dean, who had 22 points and seven rebounds and Kayleigh Dunton with nine points and seven rebounds.

The game was revenge for MCI, which lost back-to-back games to Erskine during the regular season. The Eagles beat the Huskies 42-35 on Jan. 15, followed by a 50-24 victory on Jan. 17.

“It feels really good (to move on),” said Harris, a junior who finished with seven points. “I think we all got in our heads and didn’t think we could do it. As we’ve gone through the season, we’ve learned to (overcome) adversity and I think we’ve improved a lot.”

Kelsie Dunn led the Eagles (10-9) with  23 points.


With seconds draining from the clock, Harris managed to cut to the basket, receiving a pass from the corner from Dean. Heavily defended by Erskine’s Caleigh Crocker, Harris managed to cooly get enough momentum and height over Crocker for the layup and final score.

“It wasn’t much of a play; I just saw an open lane and went to it,” Harris said.

The Huskies seemed to be running away with the game in the fourth quarter, up 39-30, which included a 10-0 run. But the Eagles, who had shooting struggles throughout much of the game, began to heat up. Dunn, a freshman, scored eight of her points in the fourth quarter, including a layup off a steal that tied the game 41-41 with 15 seconds left in the period.

“That’s the epitome of our season,” Erskine head coach Danielle Lefferts said. “We’ve been down 15 and battled back, game after game. I can’t say enough about (how) we always have the fight in us.

“Some shots didn’t fall early on, that really hurt our normal shooting, and it just didn’t happen for us tonight,” Lefferts continued. “MCI wasn’t going to go down without a fight and they weren’t going to roll over coming in here. But I’m so proud we fought all the way.”


The Huskies and Eagles continued their back-and-forth in overtime until Harris’ basket sealed the game in overtime.

“The environment of (being in the playoffs) at the Cross Center is like none other,” Dean said. “It’s amazing. I’m so grateful I get to go there again (during) my senior year.”

“We’ve struggled a lot during the regular season with overcoming adversity, that’s been something we’ve been preaching on,” MCI head coach Tasha Pratt said. “It doesn’t matter the situation that we’re in, we’re playing every possession like it’s 0-0. I’m really proud of how they did that, because we haven’t been able to do well with adversity all year, but I think today topped it off.”

“It’s hard to beat a good team three times, and we went into (the game) with that mentality,” Dean said. “The second Erskine game, that was the turning point of our season. From that game, something just switched. We’ve been playing much better basketball from that game on and it’s carried to here. It showed with a hard (fought) win.”

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