Narraguagus girls basketball team hopes for deeper tournament run

Posted Jan. 21, 2014, at 5:40 p.m.

Narraguagus of Harrington senior center Anna Ramsay doesn’t want to be reminded of last year’s Eastern Maine Class C schoolgirl tournament quarterfinal against archrival Calais.

The eighth-seeded Knights led undefeated top seed Calais 52-43 with two minutes left, then were up 54-50 with 46 seconds remaining.

But the Blue Devils rallied for a 55-54 victory en route to winning the regional championship.

“Whenever people mention that game, it makes my hair stand on end,” said Ramsay.

The Knights, 10-10 last year, could get another crack at Calais in this year’s tournament and are in line to get a much higher seed than eighth.

After a season-opening 54-52 loss to Machias, the Knights have won 11 of their last 12 games.

The only defeat was a four-point overtime loss to Calais.

“I think we’re going to be sitting pretty good when we hit Bangor [for the tournament],” said sixth-year Narraguagus coach Chris Burke. “We’ve been playing well.

“This is my best team, no doubt,” he added.

“We’re hungry. We want to do real well in the tournament,” said Ramsay.

The 5-foot-10 Ramsay is doing her part to lead the Knights. She is averaging 19 points and approximately 15 rebounds per game, according to Burke.

“She has taken command on the court,” said Burke. “She has been a leader. She’s had a double-double [points-rebounds] just about every game.”

“This is my senior year, and this is the best we’ve ever done. It’s the best the team has done in a real long time, and it feels good to be a part of it,” said Ramsay.

She is joined in the paint by 5-11 sophomore forward Kelli Kennedy, who averages 13 points and 12-14 rebounds per game.

Kennedy had 24 points in the tournament loss to Calais.

Junior point guard Caryl Ann Young has averaged 10 points per game and supplies the team with an outside shooting threat, as well as is a good ball-handler, according to Burke.

Karmen Kennedy, no relation to Kelli, is a 5-6 senior guard averaging five points per game, and 5-8 sophomore forward Cassidy Osgood is contributing 4.5 points per game and is expected to get more involved in the offense.

Senior forward Carolyn DeShiffart and freshman guard Kayla Toppin provide reliable depth.

They have also helped fill the void left by the injuries to sophomore guard Emily Reynolds and junior guard Brooke Hachey.

Reynolds, who is extremely quick and an energetic defensive specialist, has been sidelined for two weeks with a broken hand. She will be out two more weeks, according to Burke.

Hachey, another strong defender, has been out with concussion-like symptoms.

The Knights have averaged 59.3 points per game while surrendering just 35.4 playing a combination of full-court man-to-man, half-court man, and 1-3-1 and 3-2 zones.

The Machias’ 54 points is the most the Knights have allowed.

“We’re very aggressive defensively, and we anticipate well,” said Burke.

They also grab a lot of offensive rebounds and convert second-chance points thanks to Ramsay and Kelli Kennedy.

“There aren’t too many teams that can match up with us [size-wise] inside,” said Ramsay. “We pound it inside.”

Burke said one of the turning points this season was the 54-29 win at Washington Academy of East Machias on Dec. 30.

“We were tied at halftime but came out and outscored them something like 30-7 in the second half,” said Burke. “After that, we really started playing good basketball.”

“It was definitely a big game for us. We hadn’t beaten them down there in eight years,” said Ramsay.

“If we develop our transition game off our rebounding and run more, it will make us a tougher team in the tournament,” said Burke.

“We’ve been working on it the past few games,” said Ramsay. “Caryl Ann and Karmen are extremely fast, and if they can get up court and score a quick two points, it will help us.”

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