HOULTON, Maine — The Houlton Shiretowners earned their way into the Class B North quarterfinals by virtue of a 56-41 victory over Foxcroft Academy on Tuesday night.
Fifth-seeded Houlton (12-7) will face No. 4 Old Town (13-5) in Saturday’s 9:30 a.m. quarterfinal game at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
The 12th-ranked Ponies wound up 6-13.
Houlton started hot from the onset, scoring the game’s first five points on a deep 2-point shot by Shire Teagan Ewings, followed by a 3-pointer from Olivia Henderson, setting the tone for what would be a common theme throughout the night.
Houlton drained five 3-pointers on the visiting Ponies, but also proved capable of slashing to the basket. The Shires limited Foxcroft Academy to just one shot selection on each possession for much of the first half by controlling the rebounds.
“I really think we got off to a great start tonight and played hard on both ends of the floor,” Houlton coach Shawn Graham said.
It helped that the Shires also had four players in double digits as Rebecca Howe poured in 16 points, Ewings finished with 14 and Olivia Henderson and Mia Henderson both had 12 points.
The Shires converted 13 of 22 (59 percent) free throws, which is something coach Graham said his squad would need to do a much better job of against Old Town Saturday in Bangor. In contrast, Foxcroft Academy made just 10 of 24 foul shots (40 percent).
Annie Raynes paced the Ponies with 13 points, while Destiny Weymouth, Karis Dankert and Meghan Spooner each had six.
Houlton lead 16-9 at the end of the first quarter and pushed that lead to 36-19 at the half after Olivia Henderson drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the Shires. Houlton’s lead grew to 23 by the end of three quarters, 50-27.
Foxcroft Academy picked up the intensity with about 5 minutes remaining in the game, throwing a full court press at the Shires that did result in a few turnovers, but by then the damage was already done.
“We are not real big, so we knew we needed to play harder and be more physical,” Graham said. “It has been a recurring theme for us all year since we moved back to Class B. We concentrate a lot on crashing the boards and tonight we were exceptional at doing just that.”