The schoolgirl basketball season is nearing its midway point, and teams will know where they stand when the first Heal point standings of the winter are released this morning.
One thing is certain when looking at the Eastern Maine Class A ranks, the parity that most coaches predicted at the beginning of the season is holding true to form.
Here’s what has happened thus far in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference North division: 6-2 Brewer has handed 7-1 Brunswick its lone defeat, a 57-54 overtime decision on Dec. 23; Messalonskee of Oakland’s one loss was to the Dragons while the Eagles beat Brewer by 23 points on Dec. 13 en route to a 7-1 record and a perch atop the North.
And then there’s Lawrence of Fairfield, Skowhegan and Nokomis of Newport, all 5-3.
The Warriors got off to a tough start, losing their first two games by three and two points before reeling off five straight victories, including a thrilling 47-44 Dec. 30 win over Skowhegan.
As the second half of the season approaches, all these teams will be fighting for tournament positions.
Brewer has a tough remaining schedule, starting with tonight’s home showdown with the Indians.
Coach Andy Nickerson’s Witches have road contests remaining with Edward Little of Auburn, Brunswick, Nokomis and Bangor to go with home dates with Lawrence and Messalonskee.
“I think this conference is extremely wide open, if you don’t come ready to play hard, you’re going to lose,” Nickerson said after Brewer earned a dramatic 43-41 win at Lawrence last Friday.
The Witches have certainly showed a flare for the dramatic in some of their victories. They rallied from a double-digit deficit to beat Brunswick while Leah Jackson drove the length of the court and banked home a layup at the buzzer to defeat Lawrence.
“There’s a lot of good teams right now, a lot of good players in this league, people getting after it night after night,” said Nickerson.
She does it again…
At the rate Danielle Hutchins is going, EMITL director Mary Cady may set a record of her own, for most certificates made.
Hutchins, a Mount Desert Island senior who already broke the league mark in the 55-meter dash in the first meet of the season, not only duplicated that feat by clocking with a 7.39 in the 55 in a Dec. 30 meet, but smashed the conference mark in the 200.
Hutchins blazed to a 26.48 in that event, snapping the nine-year-old milestone held by Jen Puiia of Brewer (26.79).
The Trojans’ speedster was at it again in the Black Bear Relays held over the weekend.
Hutchins teamed up with Bliss Weathers, Kailyn Russell and Heather Spurling as MDI set a meet record of 4:29.29 in the 4×440-yard relay.
Lee dials up new scoreboards
When basketball fans enter Lee Academy’s Mallett Gymnasium, the first thing they may notice are the many blue banners commemorating the Pandas’ regional and state championship sports teams.
However, something else Lee hoop fans may have noticed attending games this season are the school’s new scoreboards.
According to Lee athletic administrator and boys basketball coach Randy Harris, U.S. Cellular donated one scoreboard while the school paid for the other one.
The equipment arrived and was installed just prior to Thanksgiving, in plenty of time for the Dec. 5 start of basketball season.
“They [U.S. Cellular] have been good to several schools in the area,” said Ollie Faulkner, Dean of Students at Lee.
Faulkner said he didn’t remember exactly how much the school paid for one of the scoreboards.
The scoreboards at Lee mirror ones at Penobscot Valley of Howland and Calais.
“We saw some samples when we looked at doing ours,” said Faulkner.
Along with U.S. Cellular’s financial support, the Larry Ham Construction Company was instrumental in the equipment’s installation.
The scoreboards are sort of a grand finale to small projects Mallett Gym has undergone over the years, such as cleaning up water damage, new lights and ceiling fans and a new insulation system.
“This was a nice finishing touch,” Faulkner said.
Frame reaches milestone
Friday’s 55-20 victory over Belfast may have been just another “day at the office” for the Waterville girls basketball team, but Morgan Frame took care of some business early in that game.
The senior center eclipsed the 1,000-point mark early in the first quarter on a putback. Needing only four points to reach the plateau, Frame poured in 30.
She now has 1,026 career points heading into tonight’s game at Lincoln Academy in Newcastle.
Frame added 15 rebounds and four blocked shots in the victory for coach Ted Rioux’s Purple Panthers who, along with John Bapst of Bangor at 8-0, are the lone undefeated teams in Eastern Maine Class B.
Frame and Noble of North Berwick’s Solane Sorrell are the only Maine schoolgirl players who have reached the 1,000-point mark so far this season.
Small-school cheering meet set
The Penobscot Valley Conference Small School (Classes C and D) cheerleading championships will be held at Stearns High School in Millinocket this weekend.