BANGOR, Maine — Woodland appeared to be on its way to an easy Class D North girls basketball victory over Schenck on Saturday night.
The No. 2 Dragons limited the No. 7 Wolverines to 2-for-20 shooting and forced 10 turnovers while building a 17-point halftime advantage.
Instead, Schenck pushed Woodland to the limit in the second half. The Wolverines rallied to within two points late, before Brooke Russell drained a timely 3-pointer that helped the Dragons hang on for a 39-35 win at the Cross Insurance Center.
“Everything I’ve ever heard about Schenck and their program is that they always make you play a bad game,” said Woodland coach Michelle Ripley.
“It was a good learning experience,” she added.
Freshman Emily Curtis controlled the paint for Woodland (16-3), scoring a game-high 16 points and grabbing 14 rebounds with three blocked shots. Sadie Smith scored 11 points and Russell finished with six points.
Samantha Falone (8 rebounds) carried Schenck of East Millinocket (10-10), posting 13 of her team-best 15 points in the second half. Olivia Gallant and Baileigh Osborne (five rebounds) scored seven points each and Cassie Russell added six points and four rebounds.
Woodland negotiated Schenck’s full-court zone press and attacked its 1-3-1 zone defense from the inside-out and Curtis scored 12 points while building a 24-7 halftime lead.
The Wolverines did not make their first basket until Gallant scored a fast-break layup with 1:05 left in the first half.
After intermission, Schenck switched to player-to-player defense to slow down Woodland and force nine third-period turnovers.
“That kind of helped us get more transition buckets and got us a little more energy,” said Schenck coach Aaron Hutchins.
The Wolverines tweaked their offense to get the ball into the paint off the dribble and spearhead a 13-2 run that made it 26-20 late in the third.
“They penetrated real well on us,” Ripley said. “They just kept dribbling to the right and they had lots of layups.”
In the fourth period, Falone nailed a 3-pointer, a foul line shot and three free throws to fuel an 8-2 burst that got Schenck within 32-30 with 3:42 left.
But Brooke Russell’s corner 3-pointer only 12 seconds later and a baseline hoop by Smith off a Brooke Russell feed restored a seven-point cushion to keep Woodland on top.