BANGOR, Maine — The Southern Aroostook girls basketball team returned every starter off last year’s state Class D championship team and it certainly showed on Saturday afternoon.
The experienced Warriors reeled off a 14-0 run in the first quarter to build an 11-point lead and pulled away for an impressive 55-30 victory over a hardworking Greenville team while winning a second straight state title for the first time in school history.
Southern Aroostook of Dyer Br4ook shot 56.8 percent from the floor and used a variety of zone traps to create turnovers that resulted in transition points. The Warriors swarmed the ball and contested every shot resulting in a 26.3 percent shooting performance from the Lakers.
Southern Aroostook also outrebounded Greenville 27-15.
Junior guard Sydney Brewer scored 14 points, including the 1,000th of her career, and grabbed five rebounds. Makaelyn Porter notched 13 points and two assists for the 20-2 Warriors. Kassidy Mathers posted seven points and two steals and Kacy Daggett added six points to go with five rebounds and two assists.
Kylie Vining chipped in with five points and four rebounds and eighth-grader Maddy Russell came off the bench to produce four points, three rebounds and two assists.
Halle Pelletier, Jessica Pomerleau and Tiegan Murray netted nine points apiece for 15-7 Greenville. Pelletier also had three rebounds, Murray had three assists and Pomerleau made two steals. Morgan Noyes (3 points) and Bianca Breton each pulled down five rebounds. Starters Pelletier, Pomerleau, Murray, Noyes and Breton are all juniors.
“This was one of our best games of the season and I’m glad it came in the state game,” said Mathers, one of two senior starters for Southern Aroostook along with Vining. “Everybody shot well and everyone played great defense. It all came together for us to win another one.”
“We all played a great game, today. It was awesome,” said Porter, a junior guard.
Their ability to hit outside shots against Greenville’s 2-3 zone was important in building confidence, Porter said.
“That’s the best team we’ve played all year,” Greenville’s Pelletier said. “We were contesting their shots but they were making everything. And their defense was good.”
“We knew we had to condense the middle to make them shoot outside and they did [and they made them],” said Greenville coach Maren Mason. “They’re super strong, offensively. They have great shooters.”
Southern Aroostook’s 14-0 run built a 16-5 lead and they took a 29-14 advantage into the intermission.
Their pressure defense forced the Lakers into 10 first-half turnovers.
“That was definitely a key, just turn them over and get out in transition,” Porter said.
Southern Aroostook also had impressive scoring balance as four of its five starters had at least five points in the half led by Porter (7) and Brewer (6).
A Brewer free throw that triggered the 14-0 run was her 1,000th career point.
“Getting 1,000 points feels pretty awesome. Winning a state championship is definitely better than getting 1,000 points but I’m just glad I got it with this group of girls,” said Brewer.
Mathers and Vining each added five points in the first half.
Greenville jumped out to a 5-2 lead but Brewer’s two free throws and her basket off an offensive rebound began the 14-0 run. Porter sank two foul shots, Katelyn Slauenwhite came off the bench and nailed a 3-pointer off a Porter pass and a Brewer basket and a Mathers 3 capped the flurry.
The Warriors went on a 7-0 run in the second period to build the lead to 26-9 and Greenville couldn’t get any closer than 14 the rest of the way.
Southern Aroostook coach Cliff Urquhart said his team had a productive week of practice leading up to the game.
“The kids were really focused and worked hard. We watched film, we went to practice and then they went out and executed [the game plan]. They did a beautiful job,” said Urquhart, who implemented high-pressure 2-2-1, 1-2-2 and 1-3-1 zone traps after starting out in player-to-player defense.
“We mixed it up. We didn’t want to give them the same look every time.”