Camden Hills shocks Oceanside, ousts No. 2 Mariners from playoffsNo. 7 Windjammers move on to play No. 3 Nokomis in semifinals
Bangor — Most associated with the Camden Hills girls basketball team felt the Windjammers played their most complete overall game of the season in a 68-53 Eastern Class B prelim playoff victory over Hermon Feb. 12.
Well, the Windjammers have a new "best" game of the campaign and it came on the grandest of stages against a higher-ranked Midcoast rival — who had beaten them twice earlier.
No. 7 Camden Hills (14-6) stunned No. 2 Oceanside (16-3) 54-39 Friday night, Feb. 15 in a regional quarterfinal playoff game at "The Mecca."
See video below.
The victory thrusts the Windjammers, who arguably are playing their best ball of the season, into the regional semifinals against No. 3 Nokomis of Newport (17-2, after a 49-39 quarterfinal win over No. 6 Belfast) on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 2:05 p.m. back at the Bangor Auditorium.
During the regular season, Oceanside beat Nokomis 57-45 and Camden Hills lost to Nokomis 60-38.
For the Windjammers against Oceanside, third time proved a charm, as, during the regular season, the Mariners, the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B champions, beat Camden Hills twice — 54-47 Dec. 21 in Rockport and 63-38 Feb. 7 in Rockland.
Perhaps second time will be a charm for Camden Hills, which is 11-2 over its last 13 games, against the Warriors in the next round of the tournament.
Also of note, Friday's game pitted the top career scorer in Windjammer history, boy or girl, in Jordan Knowlton and the first 1,000-point scorer in Oceanside hoop history in Kennadi Grover. Knowlton finished with 23 points and Grover 11.
Windjammer coach Marty Messer praised the work of his seniors, particularly Knowlton, who carried the team on her back at times during the game.
However, the key to the game for Camden Hills was 6-foot-1-inch Rachel Pease and the defensive job she did on the 5-foot-10-inch Grover to shut down Oceanside’s top scoring option.
“She was fading away, she wasn’t hitting her shots and Rachel’s height was great for us tonight,” Messer said. “I just told her, ‘Let [Kennadi] get the ball and shoot over you’ and luckily it worked. Kennadi’s a great player and a great scorer and they definitely went to her.”
“We knew we had to stop Kennadi,” said Knowlton. “She did have a great game, but we just hustled everywhere. We were on loose balls big time and that helped a lot [and] rebounding. They just have a solid team and they can go deep in their bench. We knew we had to stop them.”
Camden Hills made quick work of No. 10 Hermon (9-10) Feb. 12 en route to a 68-53 prelim win, thanks, in large part, to an impressive 31-point, 19-rebound, 6-assist performance from senior Knowlton.
Knowlton, the Windjammers' career scoring leader with 1,503 points, was at it again against the Mariners Friday and helped lead Camden Hills onto the semifinals.
Ultimately, two neighboring schools — Camden Hills and Oceanside — separated by a few miles traveled to Bangor Friday to settle their differences.
Camden Hills led 16-13, 25-23 and 40-29 at the quarter breaks. The game was tight for 16 minutes until the Windjammers went to work and outscored the Mariners 29-16 in the second half.
Keying the Windjammers were Knowlton with 23 points, including three 3-pointers and 8-of-11 free throws (73 percent), and 14 rebounds and four assists. Pease chipped in 14 points; Megan LeGage, six; Bekah Hilt, five; Kristina Alex, four; and Macy Buck, two. Camden Hills netted four treys, including one by LeGage, and 16-of-21 free throws (76 percent). Pease also had 13 rebounds and five blocked shots, Hilt eight rebounds, LeGage six rebounds and Alex two rebounds.
For the Mariners, Emily Gould had a sensational performance and literally kept Oceanside in the game, at several points. Gould finished with 15 points; Grover, 11; Hannah Plourde, eight; Phoebe Ferriaolo, four; and Brooke Dugan, one. Ferriaolo also had 12 rebounds; Plourde, five rebounds and three assists; Gould, four rebounds; Dugan, four rebounds and two steals; Grover, four rebounds; and Gardner, two rebounds.
The Mariners made two 3-pointers, both by Gould, and struggled from the foul line, which is uncharacteristic of Oceanside, by making 7-of-22 (32 percent).
“They played their game [and] we played ours,” said Gould. “Going into halftime we knew we had to box out and keep Knowlton and Pease off the boards and that was what we had to do from the start. But they played a good game.”
The Windjammers sailed out of the gate led by a three-point play from Pease and a trey from Knowlton to outscore the Mariners 10-2 in the first 3:15 of the contest. Oceanside also played much of the first half without starting point guard Dugan, who committed two quick fouls in the game's first two minutes.
However, Oceanside battled back and went on an 11-6 run to end the stanza on three hoops from Grover and one each from Plourde, Gould and Ferraiolo.
Knowlton keyed the Windjammers early and late. She scored eight points in the first half and 15 in the second, including sinking two 3-pointers and 7-of-9 free throws. Pease also was key, as she tallied seven first-quarter points and seven second-half points.
For Oceanside, Gould connected on two first-half treys and finished with 10 points in the opening half. Grover also tallied nine points during the opening 16 minutes as the two kept the Mariners close.
Oceanside cut its deficit to 40-34 after Grover scored in the paint against Pease with 5:45 left, but Camden Hills pulled away with a pair of Knowlton free throws and a Knowlton trey from the corner with 4:15 left to put the 'Jammers up 45-34.
Knowlton then netted two more at the charity stripe followed by a three-point play by Pease with 2:15 remaining to put the game out of reach for the Mariners at 50-34.
Messer said if his team continues to play at such a high level, he feels they can play with anyone in the tournament. And they will have to play that hard to advance to the regional final.
“I thought tonight was one of the smartest games we’ve played,” he said. “We got the lead, we didn’t force anything, we didn’t force turnovers and hopefully we can continue that Wednesday against Nokomis.”
Camden Hills finished with a season-low 12 turnovers. The Windjammers also outrebounded the Mariners 44-34.
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