Penobscot Valley coach Nathaniel Case referred to them as the “three-headed monster.”
On Tuesday night, Sophie McVicar, Lauren Cook and Olivia Huckins of Calais High School demonstrated why they are so respected.
The guard trio combined to score 37 points and grab 15 rebounds, sparking No. 4 Calais to a 51-33 Class C North girls basketball quarterfinal victory over No. 5 Penobscot Valley of Howland at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
“We’ve never seen three guards be able to play to that level,” Case said. “We did everything we could in terms of the rotations and helping, but they’re just going to wear you down after 32 minutes. They are very impressive.”
Calais (20-0) advances to a 3:30 p.m. semifinal game on Friday against the winner of Tuesday’s late game between No. 1 Stearns (16-2) and No. 8 Central of Corinth (15-4).
The Howlers, the 2019 regional champions, finished at 13-7.
It was the third win of the season for the Blue Devils against PVHS.
“I think we were all a little bit nervous coming into this,” Sophie McVicar admitted.
“I think we were prepared. I think we executed well and did what we needed to do,” she said.
Calais posted its third victory of the season over PVHS not only with strong guard play, but solid contributions from its forwards. Sage Phillips provided 10 points and eight rebounds, while Kendra Stevens came off the bench to grab 10 rebounds and Nedra Bassett had five boards.
“That’s obviously a strength of ours,” coach Bill McVicar said of his team’s guard play, “but our kids underneath did a good job of growing this year, too.”
The Howlers tried to slow Calais with an extended 1-3-1 zone, but the quickness of the guards meant ample open shots, whether on the perimeter or under the hoop.
Calais built a 10-0 lead after one period as PVHS struggled to 0-for-14 shooting. But with the Blue Devils experiencing some foul trouble and playing a 2-3 zone, the Howlers rallied.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Lexi Ireland (12 points, 8 rebounds) and Laney Harding got the Howlers within 18-14 with 1:29 to play in the quarter. However, Huckins nailed a 3-pointer in transition off a pass from McVicar, who answered a missed foul shot by PVHS with a 25-footer at the horn to give Calais a 24-13 halftime lead.
The Blue Devils then scored the first eight points of the second half to build a 19-point advantage.
“The defense PVHS played, we were able to get dumps off to the post a lot and they executed really well,” Sophie McVicar said.