FORT KENT, Maine — The Fort Kent Community High School Warriors defended home court Tuesday night, winning a Class C North girls prelim, 51-35, over the Fort Fairfield Tigers.
The win propels the seventh-ranked Warriors to a quarterfinal against No. 2 Dexter (15-3) on Feb. 16 in Bangor.
The bleachers at Community High School were filled with Warrior fams and a large contingent of Fort Fairfield fans dressed in red.
“It feels really good,” Fort Kent’s Desirae Hafford said. “We all played really hard. We played a really good team tonight.”
The Warriors (13-6) had also won both regular season matchups against the No. 10 Tigers (12-7), 40-31 and 33-29.
Hafford scored a game-high 21 points for Fort Kent while Libby LaPointe added 11 and Jordan O’Leary chipped in seven.
Cammi King-Demerchant’s 10 led the Tigers and Amber Sherwood added nine.
Fort Kent scored first on a breakaway layup off a defensive rebound from under the Tigers’ net. Hafford then proceeded to hit three consecutive shots from beyond the arc, accounting for the first 11 Fort Kent points.
Riley Cloughs’ 6-foot height gave Fort Fairfield an advantage under the boards early on but the Tigers were unable to convert her rebounds into many points.
The Warriors had stretched the lead to 15-5 after one quarter, on the way to a dominant 26-12 halftime lead.
The Tigers’ offense was hit or miss in the first half, but their defense was unable to dampen much of the Warriors’ passing or shooting.
That potent Warrior offense sputtered, however, once the second half started, and Fort Kent had several turnovers and unnecessary fouls that allowed the Tigers to chop away and find hope as the third quarter ended.
With seven minutes remaining in the game, the Tigers had cut Fort Kent’s lead to 10 points but that was as close as the Tigers would get.
Play was chippy at times down the final stretch, with one Tiger player being assessed a technical foul.
As the final seconds ticked away, the Fort Kent players and the hometown fans filling the beachers knew the squad was headed to Bangor to try to prolong their 2018 playoff run.