BY RYAN McLAUGHLIN
OF THE NEWS STAFF
BANGOR — The Messalonskee girls basketball team is known for its fast break, while Bangor has an advantage in the post with 6-footers Kate Treadwell and Stephanie Comstock.
But coach Tom Tennett’s Rams, playing with confidence, beat the Eagles of Oakland at their own game Tuesday night.
The Rams counterattacked Messalonskee’s full-court pressure with an effective fast-break while Treadwell and Comstock combined for 37 points as Bangor raced to a 67-54 victory at Red Barry Gym.
The Rams, who have won four out of five, improve to 8-7 and improve their tournament chances while Messalonskee is now 9-6.
It was clear right from the outset this was not the same Bangor club that was handled by the defending Eastern Maine Class A champions, 66-46, on Dec. 17. Rams’ junior guard Kim Jordan handled the ball well and Treadwell (25 points, nine rebounds) and Comstock (12 points, nine boards) took advantage of the Eagles’ lack of a post presence.
“They were very-well prepared on how they were going to meet on our pressure,” said Messalonskee coach Brenda Beckwith. “Kate Treadwell the first game didn’t have the performance that she had tonight, we just didn’t have an answer for Comstock and Treadwell on the inside.”
Especially in the second quarter, which the Rams closed with a 20-4 run to take a 44-24 lead at halftime, with Comstock’s one-hander in the lane jumpstarting it and Treadwell capping it with a follow-up basket.
“We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now, this is a huge game for us, we all had momentum for this game,” said Comstock.
Bangor trailed 18-16 after one, but was attacking the basket well.
“We just really knew that we had a chance with them and we were playing up with them,” Treadwell said. “We played our tempo and put the handle on the game so we made sure we took control of it then.”
A lot of Treadwell’s buckets were putbacks, as she grabbed five offensive boards.
“You forget that Kate’s only a sophomore, and she keeps getting better and better each game,” Tennett said.
Even though they were up 20 at the half, the Rams were well-aware of the Eagles’ perimeter shooting capabilities. Hannah Dexter, who led all scorers with 27 points, hit a couple of shots from beyond the arc early in the third quarter and another from the right wing later in the quarter to help Messalonskee close to 11 heading into the fourth.
“We thought if we could cut it to 10 going into the fourth, if we could make some stops we’d be in it, because we like the long ball,” said Beckwith.
But the Rams’ man-to-man defense extended out on the perimeter beautifully, and Jordan and Hillary Throckmorton were among the defense standouts.
“I think when we play as a team more on defense we do better than we ever have,” Treadwell said.
Messalonskee did stay within 11 early in the fourth, but back-to-back layups from Treadwell put Bangor up 15 and the Eagles got no closer than 12.
The Rams handled Messalonskee’s full-court pressure well, turning the ball over 17 times while Jordan, who had three assists to go with six points, has steadily developed into a fine point guard.
“Kim is another one, she missed all last year with a knee injury, she’s just getting more and more confidence,” Tennett said. “She’s just getting better all the time.”
Throckmorton was the other Ram in double figures with 17 points while Bangor shot a strong 28-for-52 from the field (53 percent).