AUGUSTA, Maine — The Messalonskee Eagles suffered significant graduation losses after capturing the 2017 Class A girls basketball state championship.
But combine the championship pedigrees of the likes of Ally Turner and Gabrielle Wener with an active defense that produces transition offense, and it’s clear the Eagles won’t be an easy out in this year’s tournament.
Wener scored 29 points and Turner provided much of the offensive choreography and early defensive work Friday as third-ranked Messalonskee of Oakland defeated No. 6 Medomak Valley of Waldoboro 63-49 in a Class A North quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center.
Wener, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, did most of her offensive work from medium and long range, shooting 11 of 20 from the field overall, 5 of 9 from beyond the 3-point arc.
The 5-foot-11 Turner, one of just two seniors on coach Keith DeRosby’s roster, struggled with her own offense — scoring six points and making just 2 of 10 from the free-throw line — but supplied much of the ballhandling and had the primary defensive assignment as the Eagles limited Panthers’ standout Gabrielle DePatsy to nine points on 4 of 15 shooting from the field and forced 20 Medomak Valley turnovers.
Alyssa Genness added 11 points and Makayla Wilson 10 for 13-6 Messalonskee, which will face either No. 2 Skowhegan or No. 7 Nokomis of Newport in Wednesday’s 2:30 p.m. semifinal.
Madelyn White scored 11 points and Sadie Cohen joined DePatsy with nine points as Medomak Valley, which also had just two seniors on its roster, finished its season at 11-8.
Messalonskee began to make Medomak Valley pay for early turnovers during the second quarter, when the Eagles outscored the Panthers 22-11 to build a 31-18 halftime lead.
Wener and Genness combined for all of their team’s points during the period, with Genness driving inside the Medomak defense for nine points and Wener erupting for 13 of her 15 first-half points.
Despite Turner leaving the game briefly with two early fouls, Messalonskee went on an 11-0 run that started late in the first quarter to snap a 7-7 tie. Genness did much of that work, finishing off several of Medomak Valley’s 13 first-half turnovers with layups at the other end.
Wener then got rolling and scored her team’s final 11 points of the period, the last nine coming on three 3-pointers — one from about 35 feet to beat the first-half buzzer.
Medomak Valley could do little more than match Messalonskee offensively early in the second half before the Eagles went on a 13-3 run to build its advantage to 58-36 midway through the fourth quarter.
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