BANGOR, Maine — After defeating Ellsworth by 40 and 31 points during two regular-season meetings this winter, the Mount Desert Island girls basketball team fully expected a stiffer challenge from its Hancock County rival when they met in an Eastern Maine Class B quarterfinal Friday night.
The challenge was indeed stiffer, but the result ultimately the same as senior forward Hannah Shaw scored 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead third-ranked MDI to a 54-40 victory at the Cross Insurance Center.
“I thought we played OK,” said Shaw, one of just two seniors on the MDI roster. “We definitely came out slow and flat but we motivated ourselves and got back where we needed to be.”
The Trojans (17-2) advance to a semifinal matchup on Wednesday against the winner of Saturday morning’s quarterfinal between No. 2 Nokomis of Newport and No. 10 John Bapst of Bangor.
No. 11 Ellsworth ends its season with a 9-11 record.
Sarah Phelps added 13 points for MDI, including seven during the second quarter as coach Brent Barker’s club used its defensive pressure to build a 30-14 halftime lead.
“The energy was different and playing on a different court changed our view of the game,” Phelps said. “We just had to come out strong and play the game we’re capable of. I think we did it, not as well as we could, but a win is a win no matter what.”
Junior forward Hailee Langley led Ellsworth with a game-high 18 points, while Morgan Card scored 10 points and Emily Berry and Madison Card each grabbed seven rebounds.
“They’re quick and they run the floor so well. You can see how they can score in transition, and that’s where they hurt us tonight,” said Ellsworth coach Andy Pooler of MDI.
MDI had to contend with a stubborn effort by the Eagles through the midpoint of the second quarter before scoring 12 unanswered points to close out the first half.
Defense fueled the Trojans’ early effort as they used trapping zone defensive pressure to induce 15 Ellsworth turnovers before intermission.
Yet the Eagles hung within 16-13 on a hook shot by Langley followed by a low-post basket from Caitlin Bean with 4:15 left in the second quarter.
Phelps answered with a follow-up runner from the lane, and after Bean made 1 of 2 from the line to make it an 18-14 game, Phelps struck from 3-point range to ignite MDI’s momentum-changing surge.
Shaw converted two straight steals into a free throw and a layup, then Sierra Myrick made two free throws and Kelsey Shaw scored from the baseline before Phelps beat the halftime buzzer with a scoop shot from the lane.
“I think we just go through these moments when we decide that playing defense is good for us,” said Phelps. “So we start to play how we should and move the ball the way we’re capable of.”
MDI then outscored Ellsworth 11-2 to open the third quarter, with Shaw working inside for three points and four rebounds and Molly Carroll adding a 3-pointer as the Trojans stretched their lead to 39-16.
Langley scored three baskets during a countering 8-0 run by Ellsworth, but Phelps made a floater from the lane and Shaw struck twice more from the lane to give MDI a 47-30 lead entering the final period.