ORONO, Maine — Jillian Woodward worked inside for a game-high 20 points and Elea Kass scored 13 as the Orono girls basketball team knocked Bucksport from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 50-33 victory Thursday night.
The Golden Bucks had taken a 28-27 lead early in the third quarter, but the Red Riots went on an 18-1 run through the rest of the third quarter and more than halfway through the fourth to put the game out of reach.
The Red Riots (5-2) started by emphasizing their inside play, including six first-quarter points from Woodard, a 6-foot junior forward.
“We went inside early and got some easy baskets, so they started to collapse on us inside,” said Orono coach Jessica Witham. “Our post players know if they get doubled we’ve got shooters out on the wing.”
That’s when Kass, a sophomore guard, came on strong. She scored 11 points in a 2:49 span of the second quarter, including all of her 3s from the same left corner spot and a short jumper from the right.
“I’ve been pretty streaky on my 3s,” said Kass, “but we know we have a good defense behind us, so I just felt comfortable taking [the 3s].”
“They were really working well together tonight, the guards and forwards,” said Witham.
That gave Orono a 25-17 lead with two minutes to go before halftime.
The Golden Bucks (7-1) came back to take their last lead with 6:07 remaining in the third with their own 11-2 run, but the Riots clamped down on them from there, forcing the Bucks into outside shots and turnovers.
“We talked at halftime about a couple of adjustments we needed to make defensively, closing out better,” said Witham.
“The kids really took it to heart and clamped down on defense and it definitely showed,” she added.
Bucksport committed nearly three times as many turnovers, 29 to Orono’s 11.
“You can’t win when you turn the ball over 29 times,” said Bucksport coach Bill Tracy.
Woodward totaled 14 points in the second half, including six from the free-throw line as the Bucks tried to interfere with her shooting. Woodward also finished the game with eight rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
“They were playing tough defense full-court,” said Woodward, “so we knew we had to get it up the court and we had a size advantage and they played really tough in the frontcourt and we had to finish it on the back of the court.”
Several times Riot guards passed over the top to Woodward, and she converted the layups. Woodward was 7-for-10 from the floor.
The bulk of Orono’s scoring in the fourth quarter came from the free-throw. Orono was only 8-for-20 in the final quarter, but those points plus two Woodward layups were more than enough.
Bucksport was held to a layup by Mindy Pye with 3:30 left and a basket by Brianna Bires with 25 seconds remaining.
Kate Berry added seven points for Orono and Leah Bryant had four steals.
Senior guard Pye topped Bucksport with 16 points. Shelby Redman had nine points and 12 rebounds.