BANGOR, Maine — There were no Heal points or gold balls up for grabs, but Saturday’s Maine McDonald’s A-B senior all-star girls basketball game had some tournament flair to it.
Even though these games are all about having some fun and showcasing talents, Morse High School’s Sarah Fitzgerald was cast into the role of hero at Husson University’s Newman Gymnasium.
Fitzgerald’s jumper from the foul line put the East squad up for good and it held on for a 62-58 victory over their Western Maine counterparts, earning a split of the doubleheader.
The Western Maine C-D team defeated the East 89-63 in the early game.
In the A-B game, there was no set play when Fitzgerald hit her shot, as she emerged open, pulled up and calmly canned the jumper to give the East a 56-54 lead with 1:15 to go in the game.
“It just kind of happened,” Fitzgerald said. “We were [winging it] the whole game.”
Camden Hills of Rockport’s Maddie Smeaton hit a free throw on the East’s next possession to put it up 57-54, and Lily Colley of Wells sank the back end of a one-and-one to bring the West back within two with 26.1 left.
After Edward Little of Auburn’s Kirsten Prue sank a couple FT’s with 19 seconds to go to restore the East to a four-point advantage, Greely of Cumberland Center’s Abby Young buried a 3-pointer from the right wing to give the West a chance.
One Fitzgerald free-throw later, the West’s last chance was denied by Cony of Augusta’s Mackenzie Dufour, who stripped Colley in the lane, while EL’s Kayla Cummings nailed two foul shots to ice it.
“Mackenzie Dufour is one of the most athletic people I’ve ever met in my life,” said Waterville’s Jen Nale, who led a balanced East offense with 15 points.
“I got to play AAU bball with her. If you give her a split second to steal the ball or get by you she’s absolutely going to take advantage of it.”
The East was making things look fairly easy in the first half, as it built a 12-point led on Nale’s perimeter shot at the 7:50 mark of the first half.
But the West closed the half on a 7-2 run, highlighted by Young’s one-hander in the lane, to get within four (36-32) at halftime.
Despite the torrid shooting of Biddeford’s Emily Rousseau, who was 4-for-10 from downtown en route to 18 points, a game-high, the West only led once in the second half, with the East never trailing after Dufour hit two foul shots at the 12:03 mark.
“It was nice to have a close game, we really didn’t want it to be a blowout,” Nale said.
Fitzgerald was the other East player in double figures with 10 points while Mount Ararat of Topsham’s Hannah Fenwick contributed nine and EL’s Cummings seven.
Young had 13 points and Colley 10 for the West.
The game featured the return of two players in EL’s Prue and Scarborough’s Jenn Colpitts, who missed out on their respective team’s postseason runs with injuries.
In the C-D game, it was a second-half shooting binge from the West that did the East in, with the West breaking open an eight-point halftime lead with a 48-30 run.
Mallory Bonnevie of Jay helped jumpstart it with a driving layup, while a driving hoop by Mount Abram of Strong’s Kylie Rolbiecki at the 14:01 mark gave the West its biggest lead at that point at 48-31.
Even though the East had some talented post players in Nicole Osborne of Calais, George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill’s India Frazier, Vanessa Lougee of Foxcroft Academy and Andi Flannery of Washington Academy of East Machias, the West countered that with a fast-break attack.
“I think we had a lot of speed on our side, so we just used that to our advantage and just took it to them,” said Winthrop’s Kelsey Ouelette, who led four West players in double figures with 16 points.
Alicha Stoddard of Carrabec of North Anson and Jane Hebert of Dirigo of Dixfield netted 14 points apiece and Jay’s Hillary Deane 12 for the West.
Waynflete of Portland’s Morgan Woodhouse gathered 12 rebounds to go with her eight points for a West club which had no issues with chemistry.
“Most of us know each other, all but two [of us] I think are in the [Mountain Valley Conference], so we all pretty much knew each other,” Ouellette said.
Frazier was the lone East player to crack double figures, scoring 13 points. Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook’s Liz Goodall had nine while Flannery and Ariel Knights of Woodland added eight apiece.