ASHLAND, Maine — The Ashland girls basketball team is moving on to the quarterfinals in Bangor after beating Jonesport-Beals, 53-37, in a Class D North preliminary playoff game Tuesday evening in Ashland.
Though the No. 9 seed Royalettes (6-13) were within striking distance of Ashland at halftime, it was a game largely dominated by the No. 8 Hornets (9-10). Ashland now travels to Bangor to face top-ranked and undefeated Southern Aroostook (18-0), 3:30 p.m. Monday at the Cross Insurance Center.
The top-scoring player for Ashland was Jamie Poulin, who had 17 points, including five of eight free throws. Juniors Hailee Cunningham and Willow Hall both had nine points.
Lydia Alley led Jonesport-Beals with 14 points, while freshman Caitlin Chambers and Kaylee Ireland both had eight points, five of which Ireland scored on free throws.
Tuesday night’s prelim started out as a low-scoring affair, with each team’s defenses shutting down drives. It would be the only quarter in the game in which either side scored in the single digits — Ashland with six points and Jonesport-Beals with four.
The second quarter saw far more offense from both sides. Four players from Ashland scored, including juniors Hall and Poulin, who each had four points. On Jonesport-Beals, senior Alley led her team, scoring six out of its 11 points.
The Hornets led at the half 19-15, with the Royalettes still in hot contention. That changed in the third quarter, where big offensive numbers from Ashland helped to expand the Hornets’ lead. This time, five different players scored points, five of which were from Poulin. However, Jonesport-Beals began to make something of a comeback towards the end of the quarter, with the offense of senior Kaylee Ireland helping to cut Ashland’s lead.
Ireland scored seven points in the third quarter, including landing four out of four free throws. After their efforts, Ashland led 34-26 going into the last quarter.
But it wasn’t to be. Ashland scored 19 more points in the fourth quarter, holding off any attempt at a comeback from Jonesport-Beals.
Ashland coach Diana Trams said her team had persevered through a season that had many ups and downs. She said her team would be working hard to face Southern Aroostook on Monday, including practicing breaking the defensive press the Warriors are sure to bring.
“Southern Aroostook is the best team,” Trams said. “They play uptempo, pressure defense and we have to be as ready for that as we can be.”
Poulin said she was happy with how her team performed and was looking forward to Bangor.
“Hopefully we can go down there and win a game,” Poulin said. “But if not, at least we made it to the tournament.”