June 19, 2018
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Washington Academy girls use stifling defense in prelim win over George Stevens

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

BLUE HILL, Maine — The ninth-seeded Washington Academy girls basketball team may have been 7-11 entering Tuesday night’s Eastern Maine Class C prelim against George Stevens Academy, but the Raiders had won their last three games and had two regular season wins over GSA.

And the Raiders rode that momentum and a stifling player-to-player defense to a 43-32 victory over the Eagles. The Raiders advanced to a 3:35 p.m. Tuesday quarterfinal against No. 1 Calais at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

“We did a pretty good job defensively. We aren’t very big, so we have to rely on ball pressure,” said WA coach Gary Wood.

Three second-half 3-pointers by Whitney Porter off Taylor Cushing kick-out passes prevented the Eagles from making a significant run to cut into a seven-point halftime deficit.

Her first 3-pointer built the lead to 24-15 and her next one opened the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 35-21. She added one with 3:20 left to make it 41-24.

“I knew I would have to play my best and shoot the ball with confidence,” said Porter. “The kickout passes from Taylor really helped me.”

Nicole Mitchell also hit a 3-pointer and Tamara Kabuye made a traditional three-point play after converting a nice spin move along the base line.

George Stevens Academy junior guard Megan Nowland said they knew the Raiders like to work the ball around the perimeter to get three-point shots “but we weren’t fast enough to get on them.”

“Their defense was great and they were very patient with the ball,” said GSA coach Bill Case. “They shot threes better against the man-to-man than they did our 2-3 zone.”

Washington Academy established a lead it would never relinquish in the first half by pressuring the Eagles into turnovers and rattling off an 11-2 run and a 7-2 run to close out the half.

Sophomore guard Logan Huckins turned in a stellar performance handling the ball and generating easy baskets off her steals. She was also extremely poised.

“I don’t think she had a turnover,” said Case.

Huckins’ steal and top-of-the-key jumper and another steal and pass to Nicole Mitchell made it 11-4 before she fed Alayna Caricofe for what turned out to be a traditional three-point play.

GSA freshman standout Morgan Dauk capped a 6-0 run with a pair of baskets to cut it to 14-12 but the Raiders closed out the half with their 7-2 run.

Dauk tried to rally her team with 13 second-half points but the Raiders led by at least six the rest of the way.

Porter finished with a team-high 11 points.

Kabuye had nine points, three rebounds and two blocked shots and Huckins had seven points, four steals and five assists. Cushing had eight rebounds and four steals.

GSA, which wound up 9-10, was led by Hauk’s 19 points and seven rebounds.

Jennifer McKenney had seven points and eight rebounds.

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