BANGOR, Maine — Schenck of East Millinocket combined balanced offense with aggressive defense to advance to the semifinals of the Class D North girls basketball tournament with a 56-38 victory over Shead of Eastport on Monday night.
Schenck (13-6) will play the winner of Monday’s late game between No. 1 Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook and No. 8 Washburn at 8:35 p.m. Thursday.
Fifth-ranked Shead finishes its season with a 9-10 record.
Schenck, a team hardened by a regular-season schedule that included 12 games against Class C opposition, spotted Shead the game’s first four points but then outscored the Tigerettes 20-2 over the final six minutes of the opening quarter to take control.
“It was just really nerve-wracking coming out, and I think a big part was playing in front of everyone and seeing the crowd.” said Schenck senior forward Julia Stanley. “But we knew from [coach Aaron Hutchins] that we just had to come out and get the lead.”
Schenck used a myriad of defenses to offset a height disadvantage against Shead, particularly during the first half when they limited the Tigerettes to five field goals while building a 31-12 cushion.
“We go as far as our defense takes us,” said Hutchins, whose teams allowed an average of just 26.7 points per game during the regular season. “We like to mix it up, we run lots of different halfcourt and fullcourt traps and they do a pretty good job when their heads are spinning, They adapt well on the fly.”
Senior guard Samantha Falone led three Schenck scorers in double figures with 13 points while Stanley added 12 — including a 7-for-8 effort on some of the highest-arching free throws to be seen.
Junior guard Cassie Russell also scored 12 points for the Wolverines before leaving the game during the second half with an apparent right wrist injury.
“We usually have two to three girls in double figures with a couple others who are right there, and that’s what makes us difficult to defend,” Hutchins said. “I’m confident in the five, six or seven girls we play. They all can put the ball in the hole so it’s kind of nice to coach a team like that where you’re not always seeing a box-and-one or a triangle-and-two.”
Junior guard Kiesha Scott paced Shead with 10 points while senior center Madison Greenlaw added eight.