BANGOR, Maine — The lone freshman in the Woodland starting lineup played like a veteran Thursday afternoon, and the result was a trip to the Class D North championship game.
Emily Curtis, a 5-foot-10 center, dominated inside by hitting 10 of 13 field goal attempts and scoring 24 points, leading the Dragons to a 54-45 girls basketball victory over previously-undefeated Deer Isle-Stonington in the tournament semifinal matchup played at the Cross Insurance Center.
“Our passing has improved and we have improved as a team throughout the year,” said the shy Curtis, who also logged double-digits in rebounds and multiple blocked shots.
“We wanted to limit [Curtis] and at times we had pretty good luck helping on her down low,” said Mariners’ coach Randy Shepard, “but when we didn’t, she scored and it was automatic. She’s a good player.”
No. 2 seed Woodland improved to 17-3 and will play Southern Aroostook Saturday at 9:05 a.m. in the regional finals. The Mariners, ranked third in the division, closed out its season with a 17-1 mark.
The Dragons never trailed, taking the lead for good (6-4) on Curtis’s basket from the low post 2-1/2 minutes into the game.
A 15-4 run to end the first half gave Woodland its largest lead at 29-13. Curtis had 13 points in the half, while junior Sadie Smith added 10 of her 16 before intermission.
Deer Isle-Stonington scored the first four points of the third quarter on baskets by Kate Hutchinson and Brienna Limeburner, but the Dragons responded behind Curtis, who scored five consecutive points over the next two minutes to go back up by 15.
The Mariners showed life throughout the second half and even got as close at seven points late in the game. They benefited from foul trouble to both Woodland senior guard Jennie Cox and Curtis, who picked up her fourth personal with 5:38 to play in the fourth period and sat out several minutes.
Junior guard Lillian Gray displayed some clutch long-range shooting for Deer Isle-Stonington to keep her team in the game. She connected on four deep shots in the second half and finished with five 3-pointers, one short of tying the Class D record. Gray tallied 19 points to pace Deer Isle-Stonington.
Curtis hit a shot shortly after her return to slow the momentum and avoided being whistled for a fifth foul the rest of the way.
Katie Erskine put in eight points for the winners. Sophomore guard Brienna Limeburner netted eight for the Mariners.
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