Editor’s note: One in a series on tournament basketball memories at the Bangor Auditorium, which is hosting its final tournament this season. Part V: five top games for girls.
BANGOR, Maine — Every high school tournament basketball game played at the Bangor Auditorium is memorable for someone.
It may have been memorable because of what occurred on the floor, off the floor, or due to the quirks that the auditorium itself provided. And quite often it is about the points.
Here are five of the top girls games since the Maine Principals’ Association started conducting tournaments for the girls in 1975.
Feb. 20, 1988
Stephanie Carter, a 5-foot-10-inch junior center, poured in a tourney state-record 46 points as the Schenck Wolverines of East Millinocket defeated Central Aroostook of Mars Hill 70-64 in the Eastern Maine Class C final.
“It was one of those games where the hoop seems really big,” said Stephanie Carter Thompson, the wife of current Schenck girls coach Darrick Thompson and mother of another Wolverine standout, Morgan Thompson.
“The shots were just falling.”
She has a hard time remembering specifics about the game, though.
“In the moment, you just go out and play,” said Thompson.
According to a BDN report at the time, she was 17 for 27 from the floor and 12 for 17 from the line.
“My teammates looked for me a lot. That was something we worked on as a team,” Thompson said.
Her rebounding tenacity was a key, too.
“A lot of my points came from offensive rebounds,” she said.
Now that she has been attending tourney games because of her family, it’s more intense for Thompson.
“It’s harder to go down there as a parent,” she said. “The nerves don’t go away.”
March 8, 1997
Presque Isle star forward Kim Condon was involved in one of the more bizarre off-the-court moments in tourney history after she rolled her right ankle in an Eastern Maine Class A semifinal win over Old Town.
The team wondered how she could be ready to play the next day in the EM final against Cony of Augusta.
That’s when Terry Kenniston, father of Old Town guard Jody Kenniston, suggested a remedy he had heard was used on Jonesport-Beals star Sandi Carver in an AAU national tournament — wrapping potato slices around the injured ankle.
Condon’s father, Steve, hurried out to buy the potatoes.
“They sliced the potatoes up and laid the sliced potatoes all over her sore spot and wrapped it up. And it sucked all the bad stuff out,” said coach Dick Barstow in a BDN interview after the game with Cony.
“They wrapped it after the game, then wrapped it again the next day until the game,” recalled Rene Cloukey, the sports director at WAGM-TV in Presque Isle.
It must have worked because Condon scored 18 points to lead the Wildcats to a 56-42 win over Cony and a berth in the state final, where PI overwhelmed Portland 77-49.
Feb. 21, 1986
While many people remember the five-overtime EM Class B boys thriller that occurred afterward, the girls contest between Houlton and Mount View of Thorndike was also memorable due to the delays and game stoppages caused by a leaky roof.
“That was one of the longest games ever,” said John Donato, then the Houlton coach and now the coach at Lawrence.
The game started an hour and 15 minutes late because of the indoor “rain,” and it dragged on as the auditorium maintenance crew had to wipe up the floor periodically.
“We would go back to the locker room sometimes,” said Donato, because it took so long to clean up.
“I think it lasted more than three hours,” Donato said.
Houlton eventually prevailed 46-38, winning its 43rd straight game and propelling the Shiretowners to their second straight state title, also at the auditorium.
Feb. 26, 1976
The first girls basketball state championship games to be played at the auditorium came in the second year of their tourney’s existence, and the Eastern Maine champion Hampden Academy Broncos and WM titlist Mt. Blue Cougars of Farmington provided a barn burner in the Class A contest.
Behind a basket by freshman Grace Baker with one second left, the Broncos edged the Cougars 66-65 in overtime.
Hampden, backed by the scoring of Cindy Rand, had pulled out to a 60-53 lead with 1:53 left in regulation.
The Cougars responded by scoring the final seven points of regulation, including a Jill Pingree three-point play with eight seconds left.
Rand finished with 28 points in the game, and Barbie Leighton and Katrina Verrill added 14 each.
Pingree posted 24 points to pace Mt. Blue, and Wendy Farrington had 22.
In the Class D game earlier, Allagash defeated Buckfield 57-43. The Class B and C games were played the same night but at Colby College in Waterville.
March 12, 1994
There can’t be a list of special games at the auditorium that doesn’t include Cindy Blodgett, the scoring phenom who led the Lawrence Bulldogs of Fairfield to four straight state championships.
Her auditorium finale provided an emphatic stamp to her high school career there as the poured in a tourney state-record 47 points against rival Cony in the EM Class A final.
Approximately 6,000 people reportedly attended Blodgett’s last appearance and she didn’t disappoint.
She made 15 field goals and a record 16 free throws to score her 47 points, but she also played a key part on offense when she didn’t have the ball.
Cony assigned two players to shadow Blodgett, so Blodgett moved out high at times and gave the Bulldogs a 4-on-3 advantage closer to the basket.
That helped spark a 20-9 run that aided Lawrence’s 78-69 victory and fourth straight trip to the state finals.
“I love it here,” Blodgett told the BDN. “When I come back 20 years from now, this is still going to feel like a second home to me.”
Blodgett can mark the 20th anniversary of that game by returning to Bangor, but the auditorium won’t be here anymore.