BANGOR, Maine — Kassi Michaud only stands 5-foot-3, but the sophomore guard was the biggest player on the Red Barry Gym floor Tuesday night as the Messalonskee girls basketball team rallied to tip Bangor 57-52 in overtime.
She poured in 22 points, 17 of them in the second half for the Eagles of Oakland. That included a 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter to tie Bangor and another near the end of regulation to send the game into OT.
It was an uncharacteristic night for Michaud.
“I’m usually hesitant about shooting,” she admitted afterward. “But I shot with confidence tonight, held my release and they went in.”
Her coach, Keith Derosby, agreed that lack of confidence has been a problem.
“She shoots well, but she’s timid,” he said. “I think tonight helped her out with that.”
After Bangor junior guard Jordan Seekins scored to start the overtime, Mary Badeen rebounded her second missed free throw and scored to retie the game for the Eagles. Michaud then hit the second of two free throws to give the Eagles the lead for good with 2:28 left.
Mikayla Turner added a hoop and Michaud made 3 of 4 free throws, including two with 9.7 seconds left to close out the Rams.
The game looked a lot like the sprinters’ portion of a track meet with both teams racing up and down the floor.
“If we could have kept it a track meet, we might have won,”said Bangor coach Katie Herbine. “At the end of the fourth quarter, I think we froze up.”
Derosby, whose Eagles downed Bangor by 12 in the second week of the season, knew that Tuesday’s game would be more difficult.
“It’s intimidating to come in here and see all the championship banners,” he said. “This is a tough gym to play in.”
It was difficult for both teams because of the pace of play. Bangor is known for being tall with senior forward Katie Brochu and freshman guard/forward Mary Butler and freshman forward Cordelia Stewart all being 6 feet tall or more. Messalonskee countered with senior center Megan Pelletier, who is 6-1 and sophomore Kelsey Mayo at 5-11.
“They’re quick and tall,” said Michaud. “It’s hard to pass over the top, and they were blocking a lot of shots. We had to play smart and box out.”
Eventually, the Eagles were able to start driving along the baseline, especially with Pelletier, senior guard/forward Mikayla Turner, Mayo and senior forward Rachel Wacome.
“We tried to get ’em in foul trouble and get foul shots,” said Michaud.
It worked eventually as Brochu fouled out with 5:04 remaining in regulation. Butler fouled out with 35.4 seconds left in OT. The Rams returned the favor by fouling out Pelletier with 35.6 second to go in regulation.
“The only thing I could do as captain was to keep everyone on the bench in the game,” Brochu said. “We just had to keep cheering on our teammates.”
The Rams were able to take a 49-41 lead with 2:32 remaining in the fourth quarter on an Erin Boulier basket, but the Eagles ran off the last eight points of regulation.
Pelletier started the Eagles, now 9-4 and winners of three in a row, on the road back when she scored with 2:07 to go.
Senior guard Badeen converted a conventional three-point play with 51.4 seconds left to cut Bangor’s lead to three, setting the stage for Michaud’s 3-pointer with 14.4 seconds left.
The ball came to Michaud on the 3-pointer as the Eagles and Rams fought for control of the ball. The ball was tapped to Michaud in the right corner.
“I knew the clock was running down and I was open, so I just took it,” she said.
She finished her big night by hitting 3 of 4 free throws in the final 36 seconds of overtime, sandwiched around a free throw by Bangor’s Denae Johnson, to secure the victory.
“I definitely lit it up,” said Michaud, who figures she usually scores five a night.
Pelletier added 13 points for the Eagles, and Badeen had 11.
Johnson, a junior guard, knifed her way through the Eagles to post 18 points for the 5-8 Rams, who have lost three in a row. Seekins had 10 points, Butler had eight and senior guard Kristen Henigan six.
Bangor was hurt by missed free throws, making only seven of 23. In the fourth quarter and overtime, Bangor was 2 for 11.
“We’ve been shooting free throws a lot in practice,” said Brochu. “I think it was just a confidence issue tonight.”