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Abbie Quinn said she never expected to get much playing time this season as a freshman on the Bangor High School girls basketball team.
“I anticipated sitting on the bench, watching, getting ready for years to come,” Quinn said.
Quinn hasn’t been spending much time on the bench. Neither has fellow freshman Emmie Streams, who is the team’s starting point guard.
The two freshmen have played important roles in the Rams’ 8-4 season to date.
The 5-foot-11 Quinn is averaging close to 12 points per game and is one of Class AA North’s leading rebounders with eight per game, according to first-year head coach Jay Kemble.
The 5-4 Streams is among the AA North leaders in assists with 4.2, and she has also averaged 2.5 steals and four points.
“Abbie’s inside presence forces teams to pack it in and that opens up our outside game,” Kemble said. “Emmie has great quickness, intensity and knowledge. And she is such a competitive kid.”
Brewer coach Chris Horr, whose team has lost twice to the Rams, had anticipated that the two freshmen would contribute immediately.
“I’ve seen them for a few years and I thought they would play right off,” Horr said. “There certainly hasn’t been any hesitation or reluctance on their part. They have stepped right in and haven’t played like freshmen. They’re composed. They’re wise beyond their years,” Horr added.
Streams and Quinn have played together for several years. They were teammates with the Maine Lumberjacks AAU team and at Cohen Middle School.
“Abbie and I are used to working together,” Streams said. “I can always find her on the court.”
“Playing summer ball with our high school [teammates] really got us ready, too,” Quinn said.
Quinn has benefited from playing on a team with three juniors who have her height, such as the Fleming twins, Abby and Libby, and Maggie Cowperthwaite.
“That challenges me. I’ve gotten better, stronger from it,” Quinn said.
Streams said high school basketball is a lot more competitive, so she and Quinn have to bring energy and focus every day.
Their teammates said they have definitely been impactful.
“Emmie helps control the ball for us. I haven’t seen Abbie miss many layups,” Libby Fleming said. “When she goes up with the ball, you can’t stop her. She is also a great shot-blocker.”
Guard Rowan Andrews, Bangor’s only senior, said the newcomers have brought energy and talent.
“A lot of us have been playing together for a while but they have changed our game up,” she said.
Kemble said Streams and Quinn love to practice and that the team benefits from their intensity. Both are key components in Bangor’s 1-2-2 zone defense.
“Emmie is a real good on-ball defender and Abbie understands how to support when the ball goes to the outside,” Kemble said. “She knows how to hedge and communicate with the guards.”
Kemble said the girls’ respective fathers, Corey Streams and Mark Quinn, and their other coaches prepared them well.
They each played soccer for the Rams last fall and that helped them develop a bond with their future basketball teammates. They are happy with their progress, but are working to improve.
“I have to work on my shot,” said Streams, who knows her primary job is being a ball distributor. As a point guard, the ball is in her hands a lot.
“It has been a challenge but it’s a lot of fun. My job is to get into the paint and find the open man,” Streams said.
Quinn said she hopes to get more comfortable with the ball under the basket and is working on her dribbling.
“[Coach Kemble] works with me on the press-break. He’s having me pass more and that has helped my confidence,” Quinn said.
The Bangor girls, winners of four of their last five, entertain Deering of Portland at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.