BAR HARBOR, Maine — The Mount Desert Island girls basketball team will be sailing over treacherous waters over the next week or so.
The tough schedule started with Saturday’s matchup with Presque Isle, while games against fellow Big East contenders John Bapst, Hermon and Old Town follow.
Coach Brent Barker’s club passed its first test, limiting the high-scoring Wildcats to 16-for-58 shooting (24 percent) with Sara Carroll, Anna Joy and Megan Phelps leading a balanced offense in a 54-39 matinee victory at Parady Gym.
MDI looked a bit sluggish out of the gate against a Presque Isle club playing its second game in less than 24 hours, trailing 10-6 after one quarter, but embarking on a 17-3 run over the next eight minutes en route to winning their eighth straight game after an opening-night loss to John Bapst.
“I think in the first quarter we had a lot of butterflies,” said Phelps, who recorded a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds to go with three blocked shots.
Carroll led all scorers with 17 points while Joy connected for 16 while grabbing eight rebounds for the 8-1 Trojans.
Presque Isle falls to 9-2.
MDI quickly set the tone on both ends of the floor early in the second quarter, scoring the period’s first eight points while holding Presque Isle without a field goal until Kayla Legassie’s layup with 1:40 left.
“Mr. Barker told us we needed to come out with energy because they were obviously very [quick] and we needed to be able to play with them,” said Phelps, who along with Joy, was instrumental in keeping the smaller Wildcats out of the paint.
Phelps and Joy, who are both 5-foot-11, kept PI sharpshooter Sarah Porter in check, holding her to 11 points on 5 for 18 shooting, with seven of those points coming in the final six minutes when the Trojans were in control.
“She makes them go, we were hoping to limit her touches and make her take some quick shots,” Barker said. “I thought we did a very, very nice job on her, she’s a very good player.”
MDI’s lead peaked as high as 14 in the second half and the Wildcats could get no closer than eight, as the Trojans consistently picked apart Presque Isle’s triangle-and-two defense, in particular Carroll and Joy, who got multiple open layups off backdoor cuts.
“That’s part of our offense,” Barker said.
Joy scored 14 of her points in the second half while Carroll had six of MDI’s 17 second-quarter points.
“It was [a] very important [win], it definitely boosted our confidence for the upcoming three games that are going to be really important for us,” Joy said.
While Presque Isle struggled from the field, the Trojans shot just under 50 percent (21 of 50), using their height advantage.
“We talked about it in practice, we knew they were going to be smaller than us and we knew we really needed to key on the post,” Phelps said.
MDI had a decided edge on the backboards, outrebounding the Wildcats 38-27 while collecting 11 offensive boards.
Legassie’s 14 points led Presque Isle while Porter had 10 rebounds and Chelsea Nickerson eight points off the bench.