HOWLAND, Maine — After the Dexter girls basketball team defeated Penobscot Valley 50-41 Saturday afternoon, anyone could be forgiven for trying to figure out which coach was in charge of which team.
“I felt like we lost today,” said Dexter coach Jody Grant. “We got nothing accomplished. There was no attention to detail.”
Grant said it isn’t as if his Tigers have given up. They are, after all, 11-0 in Eastern Maine Class C and currently second in the Heal points.
“The effort is there, but the execution is not,” said Grant.
He said the players are trying to get better, but they have a lot to work on.
“It’s not any one thing, it’s a lot of little things,” Grant said. “It’s not just physical mistakes, we’re making mental mistakes. And it’s different thing at different times.”
Howlers coach Joe Cyr was all smiles.
“I felt like we won,” Cyr said. “My kids stepped up. Our point guard [senior co-captain Kassy Taylor] ran all 32 minutes.”
Taylor’s leadership was important for Penobscot Valley.
“We’re very young,” said Cyr. “I have seven freshmen [and only two seniors].”
Dexter finally started to pull away for good in the third quarter when senior guard Lauren Crane scored all 11 Tiger points in the quarter.
Crane’s output in the third more than offset the six free throws that the Howlers tallied in the quarter and pushed Dexter to a 10-point lead over the Howlers through three quarters.
“They were playing an extended zone,” said Crane. “We had to start taking the ball inside and kick it back outside [for open shots].”
Penobscot Valley (5-5 in EM Class D) could only cut it to nine after that. The first time came with 5:22 left in the contest, and Dexter junior forward Abbie Melvin helped blunt that run by scoring five of her six points points over a 1:04 stretch to help push the margin to 15.
The second time came in the waning seconds to set the final score.
It was Penobscot Valley’s third straight loss.
“We’ve had three tough games this week,” said Cyr.
Crane finished with 17 points, including four 3-pointers, senior guard Jordyn Bell added 10 points for Dexter, and sophomore guard Michaela White had eight.
Freshman forward/center Sami Ireland led the Howlers with a game-high 20 points, and junior center Molly McGinn, who stands 6-foot-1, posted 10 points. Ireland is an even 6 feet.
“They had their way inside,” admitted Grant.
McGinn was the key there, said Cyr.
“She’s a coach’s dream and an opponent’s nightmare,” he said. “She’s always going to be double-teamed.”
She can also dribble, pass and know when to do them.
“She’s very clever,” said Cyr.
With their height, the Howlers controlled the boards.
“We had difficulty rebounding,” admitted Crane, “so we weren’t getting the second and third shots like we’re used to.”
The Howlers also drew a lot of fouls, but they were having trouble with turnovers.
“We get up in the passing lanes and try to get a lot of steals and turnovers,” said Crane. “That’s how we get our points.”
Crane is optimistic Dexter will get better.
“It’s fair to say that we’re in a slump — a small one, not a big one,” said Crane. “I think we’ll be all right.”