For the second time in three months, girls teams from Waterville High School and Hermon will meet for a Class B North championship.
In November, Sydney Gallop’s overtime goal gave Hermon a 2-1 victory over Waterville in the B North soccer final.
The two basketball teams, with several soccer players on each team, will square off Saturday at 2 p.m. for a berth in the state championship game.
Second seed Waterville (19-1) is the favorite and has added incentive after losing the soccer final to Hermon and dropping last year’s B North basketball final to Mount Desert Island.
It will be Waterville’s relentless pressure defense and up-tempo attack against Hermon’s strong inside game featuring 6-foot sophomore center Meg Tracy and 5-10 senior forward Grace Page.
But Waterville also has a strong post presence in 5-10 senior Maddy Martin, who had 25 points and 15 rebounds in the wins over Ellsworth and Presque Isle, and super sub Kali Thompson, a high-jumping 5-7 forward who had 15 rebounds against Presque Isle.
Guards Paige Plissey and Gallop have to limit their turnovers for No. 1 Hermon (19-1) and the Hawks must dictate a slower half-court game. Otherwise, Waterville will wear them out and create easy transition baskets.
Jayda Murray and Paige St. Pierre are solid all-purpose guards for the Panthers, who also are dangerous from the 3-point arc, going 10-for-21 in the win over Ellsworth, led by five from Sadie Garling.
The Panthers attack the glass and have scored several second-chance points, so Hermon has to box out.
Pressure defense, depth spark SACS
All season, the two-time defending Class D state champion Southern Aroostook girls basketball team and Deer Isle-Stonington, were on a collision course to meet for the regional title for the second straight year.
That has come to fruition.
The top-seeded Warriors from Dyer Brook, 20-0, have breezed to Saturday’s 9 a.m. final in Bangor with an average winning margin of 42 points in their quarterfinal and semifinal victories over Ashland and Shead of Eastport, respectively.
The Mariners have had to work much harder to reach the final, rallying to beat Schenck of East Millinocket 43-40 before pulling away in the second half for a 48-34 semifinal win over Katahdin of Stacyville.
Deer Isle-Stonington will be hard-pressed to withstand Southern Aroostook’s swarming pressure defense that has created a ton of turnovers and easy transition baskets.
The Mariners survived 18 turnovers against Katahdin but won’t be able to do so against the Warriors.
Southern Aroostook’s superior depth will be another issue for the Mariners as the Warriors have received double-digit points from six different players in their two victories. Freshman guard Maddie Russell, who has a team-high 35 points in the two games.
Two-time Class D North Most Valuable Player Makaelyn Porter has 25 points and contributes in all phases of the game. Kacy Daggett, at 5-11, has been dominant in the post.
Deer Isle-Stonington will need terrific performances from 5-10 senior forward Katie Hutchinson, junior guard Kaylee Morey and junior guard-forward Rylee Eaton to hang with the Warriors.
Eaton, who missed last year’s tournament due to a minor surgical procedure, had 19 points and 19 rebounds in the two triumphs. Morey’s 13 points led the way against Katahdin.