AUGUSTA — Graca Bila wanted to talk about anything but basketball on Tuesday.

The North Yarmouth Academy senior knew as soon as she saw the tournament schedule and realized the Panthers would be playing in the final regional quarterfinal of the entire week at the Augusta Civic Center, that the waiting would be the hardest part.

The last Class C South girls quarterfinal game on the docket didn’t tip off officially until 8:53 p.m.

“The (start) time of the game, that was all that was on our mind all day and all weekend,” Bila said. “We had to use each other for support, so we could talk about anything other than the game. When it was time to focus in on the game, we were able to do that.”

Whatever tactic she and her teammates took, it worked. No. 1 NYA avoided the upset, using a balanced scoring attack and a massive rebounding advantage to post a 37-19 win over No. 8 Carrabec. Bila led the Panthers with 10 points, as they swept all three matchups with the Cobras this season.

NYA (18-1) was far from perfect in setting up a Thursday semifinal with No. 4 Madison, but the Panthers did the little things right. They held Carrabec’s 1,000-point scorer Molly Hay to only nine points, forced the Cobras (11-9) into 34 turnovers and only conceded seven total made field goals.


Carrabec’s Anna Canales attempts to shoot over NYA’s Anaya Roundy during a Class C South girls basketball quarterfinal game Tuesday at the Augusta Civic Center. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

Like Bila, NYA head coach Tom Robinson was simply relieved the experience was over.

“It makes you really nervous as a coach to have a (1 seed vs. 8 seed) and see someone for a third time, with a really great player,” Robinson said. “(Hay) is one of the best we’ve faced. We gutted it out.”

Robinson liked the Panthers’ defensive tenacity, particularly on the glass.

Five different NYA players grabbed at least six rebounds in the win en route to a 41-15 rebounding edge on the night. And that came without starting center Ava Wilkinson, who was pinned to the bench for most all of the second half with foul trouble.

“That’s not unusual for us to struggle in the offensive end, but we play pretty good defensively,” Robinson said. “It was balanced. It was good from a defensive point of view, but we are who we are on offense.”

NYA opened with an Athena Ghee 3-pointer 18 seconds into the contest, but then the Panthers missed their next 12 attempts from the floor. They closed the first period with a 7-3 run to take a 10-5 lead through eight minutes.


Carrabec mustered only two second-quarter points, and the Panthers took advantage to go into the break up 18-7.

The teams played an even third quarter to keep the NYA lead at 11, but the Panthers’ 13 points in the fourth marked the most explosive offensive period from either side.

“Everyone that came in gave maximum effort, which is what we needed, “ Bila said. “We were able to keep the energy up to keep the defense up, which is where our offense comes from.”

Ghee ended the night with eight points and seven rebounds, while Ella Giguere — tasked with guarding Hay from start to finish — ended up with six points and eight boards. Anaya Roundy turned in a seven-point, six-rebound effort in the win.

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