WA, Eagles earn berths in EM final

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Posted Feb. 20, 2009, at 9:38 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Want to boil Friday afternoon’s Eastern Maine Class C girls semifinal between No. 1 Calais and No. 5 Washington Academy of East Machias down to one word? Try “revenge.”

If there was ever a team with a score to settle, it’s the WA Raiders. Two years ago, the unbeaten Raiders met Calais in a quarterfinal and went home with their first loss. Earlier this season, they lost to the Blue Devils on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of regulation on the road and then lost again in overtime at home.

With that in mind, the Raiders’ raucous, emotional celebration following their 48-42 victory over No. 1 Calais Friday was entirely understandable.

“It was bittersweet,” said junior Andi Flannery, who led the Raiders with 15 points. “I didn’t really want to play them because they’re so good, but I also wanted to play them to get revenge and prove to everyone we can beat them.

“There was no question to me we could beat them, but they’ve kind of been in our heads for awhile.”

Now Flannery is in theirs after getting 14 points and seven of her eight rebounds in the second half.

“Usually, I draw people to me and then just dump it over to Taylor Seeley, but she was in foul trouble and I couldn’t do that, so I had to try to make something happen,” said Flannery, who also led her team with four assists.

Washington Academy (15-6) will take on No. 3 George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill for the East C title tonight at 7. Calais wound up 15-3.

GSA eliminated No. 7 Orono 49-30 in the first game of the afternoon.

The Raiders led by as many as nine in the first half, but a 9-0 run by Calais to start the second quarter tightened the game back up. Calais led by as many as eight with 11½ minutes left in the second half, but the margin was never more than four points in the final quarter until the last 31 seconds.

The difference came down to foul shots as the Raiders hit eight of 11 in the last five minutes and Calais was 5-for-12 in the same span.

“That and rebounding were key down the stretch, but both teams played hard and both teams’ benches really played well,” said Calais coach Dana Redding. “If we played again tomorrow, it would be the same kind of game.”

Redding lost starting forward Hillary Hollingdale with 4:29 left in the first quarter after she was fouled and dislocated her kneecap while falling.

“That hurt us, but Blake did a great job stepping in for her,” Redding said.

“The bottom line is it’s hard to beat a team three times in a row, especially a team like that,” Redding added.

Another junior, Irene Lewey, had 10 points, seven boards and two assists for WA.

“I moved her to the post tonight, but she usually plays small forward,” Wood said. “And our freshman [Brandelyn] Hodgdon did a great job at point guard.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in the girls and they really justified it tonight.”

Shannon Brown led Calais with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Courtney Hill added 10 points, four rebounds and three assists.

In the first game, even though its lead at halftime was only five, GSA had the Orono Red Riots right where it wanted them.

With their tenacious fullcourt pressure wearing down the seventh-ranked Red Riots, the Eagles forced one Orono mistake after another while gradually pulling away to the victory.

Coach Donald Allen’s club improved to 17-3 while the Red Riots, who only graduate two seniors, cap off a fine season at 14-7.

GSA’s Stevie Theoharidis fueled a balanced offense with 15 points on 6-for-12 shooting, while India Frazier put in 13 and Maddie Park contributed eight.

“Recently we’ve worked on trusting each other more. The more balance we have, the harder it is to stop,” said Park, who scored all her points in a topsy-turvy first half which saw the Riots hang around with the more athletic Eagles.

That athleticism caught up with Orono in the second half, as Theoharidis hit a short jumper off an Emily Peake steal to jumpstart a 12-6 run which gave Allen’s club some breathing room.

“We like to play intense against whoever we’re playing, hoping they get tired,” said Theoharidis, who also had three steals.

Orono was limited to six second-half field goals while the Eagles went 12-of-14 from the foul line in the second half to maintain control.

“We have been a good foul-shooting team [all year], which transcends to the fact that we’ve got a lot of good shooters,” said Allen.

Even when the Eagles’ lead grew to double digits, they didn’t turn off their pressure, which did not allow the Riots to get comfortable in their offensive sets.

“We know if we keep up the pressure we’ll wear [opponents] down,” said Park.

With Orono’s offense stuck in neutral, GSA looked inside to Frazier throughout the second half, and she grabbed six second-half rebounds and scored nine of her 13 points.

“That’s what we talked about at halftime, getting the ball inside to [Stevie], her and India. We felt that’s where we had the advantage,” said Allen.

Theoharidis scored 13 of her points after halftime.

Elizabeth Fox led Orono with 10 points.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/02/20/sports/wa-eagles-earn-berths-in-em-final/ printed on August 21, 2014