BANGOR — The Messalonskee girls basketball team has given teams fits over the years with its uptempo offense and quickness on defense.
Now, the Eagles of Oakland have a new weapon in 6-foot-1 junior Megan Pelletier, which gives coach Brenda Beckwith a strong weapon in the post.
Pelletier, who transferred from Winslow before this school year, posted 18 points and nine rebounds while Mary Badeen tossed in 13 points to power the Eagles to a 43-27 win over Bangor at Red Barry Gym Thursday night.
Badeen, also a junior who came to Messalonskee from Nokomis, shot 3-for-7 from 3-point range en route to her 13 points, while Pelletier gave the Rams fits in the post.
“I thought before the last four minutes of the game we did a really nice job moving the ball and attacking the rim,” said Beckwith, whose club improved to 4-1 while Bangor fell to 2-2.
Pelletier and Badeen scored four points apiece to spark a game-starting 8-2 run for the Eagles. Bangor came back as Hillary Throckmorton scored six straight points, capped by a driving layup to tie the game, but Mickelle McCafferty was fouled shooting a short jumper as time expired, and she sank both foul shots to give the Eagles the lead for good.
Pelletier’s inside shot and a deep perimeter bomb from Badeen helped jumpstart a 15-6 Messalonskee run that put the visitors up by double digits for the rest of the night.
Badeen’s outside shooting and ability to run the offense as a point guard and Pelletier’s abilities inside proved to be game-changers for the Eagles.
“It really can change what you can do because you can go inside and (Pelletier’s) so good at being able to (kick it) outside, that really helps,” Beckwith said.
It also helps having two guards in Badeen and Alyssa Eugley who can handle the ball, even though their roles contrast.
“(Eugley’s) role is really a defensive player, move the ball to the shooters, and she’s handled that very well,” Beckwith said.
Messalonskee led 29-16 at halftime, and the Rams tried to get something going out of the locker room, with Kristen Henigan scoring inside to start the third quarter, but the Eagles scored the next six points, four coming from Pelletier, to extinguish any aspirations of a Ram comeback.
The game was sloppy at times with the Eagles committing 14 turnovers and Bangor 19, and while the Rams handled Messalonskee’s defensive pressure OK, coach Katie Herbine’s club struggled shooting (12-for-47).
“We got the ball inside, we just weren’t making shots, and that’s tough,” Herbine said, “but we’re going to continue to practice and play hard.”
Aside from the tournament experience that Badeen and Pelletier bring to Messalonskee, the Eagles are youthful, and that inexperience showed at times.
“I think those kids are just going to have to get game experience by stepping out on the court, and we’ll take what we can get from them,” said Beckwith, whose team shot just 14-for-43 from the floor.
Some of that was attributed to Bangor’s hard work on defense.
“They play so hard, I’m very, very proud of them. They show passion every time they come out to play,” Herbine said. “Good things will come, it’s just going to take a little bit of time.”
McCafferty contributed eight points and nine rebounds for Messalonskee, while Throckmorton led all Bangor scorers with nine points.