CORINTH, Maine — Central High School junior guard Hannah Pray was nearly unstoppable against the George Stevens Academy girls basketball team Friday night.
Even though Eagles’ senior Stevie Theoharidis stuck to Pray like glue, she still scored 19 of her game-high 27 points in the second half to power her Red Devils to a 57-34 triumph over the defending regional Class C state champions from Blue Hill at the high school gym.
“I thought we played good defense on [Pray], but she hit everything she threw up,” said GSA coach Don Allen. “[That’s] one of the better performances we’ve ever had against us by an individual.”
Pray outscored the entire GSA team in the second half, 19-14, while coach Diane Rollins’ club went on a 36-14 surge to improve to 5-0 and perhaps send a message to the rest of Eastern Maine Class C.
“We were definitely looking at them they were definitely on my mind, and we definitely knew they’d be pretty tough,” said Pray.
GSA fell to 3-3.
This was a back-and-forth affair in the first half, as the teams swapped leads 10 times, but Rollins decided to go with a smaller, quicker lineup to start the second half and bring in 6-foot-4 junior center Bekah Campbell off the bench.
It worked, as the quick Pray and backcourt mate Max McHugh gave GSA’s defense fits, and the two of them set the tone by scoring the Red Devils’ first six points of the second half.
“We wanted to fast break, we wanted to push the ball,” Rollins said.
And when Campbell, who missed a couple games early in the season with a stress fracture in her right foot, came back on, she was her usual towering self in the paint. She connected on back-to-back layups to give Central its biggest lead of the night at the time, 33-25, with 2:37 left in the third.
“We have so much speed and we have so many quick guards, but we’ve got height too, everyone on our team is athletic,” said Campbell, who finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.
The Red Devils were dominant on the backboards, collecting 18 offensive boards as a unit while Roberta Trafton led the team with 10 while Jocelyn Portmann also had eight.
Trafton and Portmann, listed at 5-9 and 6-0, respectively, became valuable forces on the glass while Campbell was hurt.
“A lot of the girls had to step up and do a lot of different things that they haven’t been able to do,” said Rollins. “I’m really happy with Roberta Trafton, she’s my high rebounder usually every game and last year she was coming off the bench.”
Central led by only eight after three quarters, as the Eagles hung tough, but McHugh, who finished with 11 points, hit two 3-pointers while Pray canned one in between McHugh’s buckets, all from the right wing, in the first minute and a half of the fourth to balloon the Devils’ lead to 16.
“She’s definitely stepped it up for a freshman, I’m really amazed by how she’s been playing,” Pray said of her backcourt mate.
Perhaps lost in Pray’s offensive explosion was the fact that Central’s defense forced 22 GSA turnovers and many of Pray’s points came on transition lay-ups and pull-up jumpers.
McHugh spearheaded the defensive effort with four steals.
George Stevens, which graduated three starters from its regional championship squad, took some big strides that the final score won’t indicate.
“They were basically bigger than us almost every position, but I’m very happy with this game, this is a good building game for us,” Allen said.
Theoharidis went 3-for-6 from 3-point range in scoring nine points for the Eagles while India Frazier also had nine points. Theoharidis also had eight rebounds.