Double-bonus: Grover nets milestone as Mariners knock off unbeaten WarriorsOceanside senior becomes first in school history to reach 1,000 career points
Rockland — To say the Friday night, Jan. 11 high school court battle with undefeated Nokomis of Newport was the most important game of the season for the Oceanside girls basketball team would be an understatement.
To say it was the most anticipated game of senior forward Kennadi Grover's high school hoop career would be an even greater one.
Those two roads ran parallel for much of Friday night's contest in the highly-anticipated showdown between the two talented hoop squads and intersected at the right time, resulting in a historic night for both Grover and the Mariners.
Grover became the first 1,000-point basketball scorer in Oceanside High School's brief two-year history with a 23-point performance, as she helped lead the Mariners to a 57-45 win over the previously-unbeaten Warriors (9-1).
The victory shot the Mariners (9-1, 45.3704 points) to the top spot in the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Eastern Class B.
Grover needed 15 points heading into Friday's game to reach the coveted 1,000-point milestone. Grover scored 23 points, including two in the first quarter, eight in the second, eight in the third and five in the fourth.
Grover stood at 999 points when, with 3:23 remaining in the third quarter, she surpassed 1,000 with a close-range hoop that came after a pass on the left low block.
The historic hoop brought the Mariner faithful to their feet and helped Grover sail past the coveted milestone.
At that point, the game was halted as Oceanside athletic director Jim Leonard announced Grover's milestone to the crowd. The senior forward then was presented flowers by Principal Tom Forti in a brief ceremony before the game resumed.
"She deserves everything she gets," said Oceanside coach Teel Foster of Grover. "What I'm most impressed with is the last two games what a team player she's been. She's fueled her offense by her defense, by her hustle [and] by her rebounding."
"She's a remarkable player. I had nothing to do with it, I'm just fortunate to be part of her journey," the coach said.
Grover had been being bombarded by classmates all week by the impending accomplishment, but tried to avoid getting caught up in the hoopla.
"I'm happy to get it over with," Grover said. "I've thought about it my whole [high school] career, actually, but finally it came down to the point where I had to get it done."
Grover started Friday's game slowly, but got better as the contest wore on, scoring eight points in both the second and third quarters and added five more in the fourth, while going 3-of-5 from the foul line for the game.
Grover insisted she "wasn't keeping count at all" during the game, but knew hitting the milestone would be key to the Mariners earning the win over a tough opponent.
"I knew if I got it [the 1,000 points] it would keep the intensity up and everything would just roll into place like it did," Grover said.
Perhaps even more important was the win for the Mariners, a victory that cements them as a potential favorite for the regional championship.
"This solidifies us as a top seed and an automatic trip to Bangor," said Foster. "I am so proud of the way the girls came out and played to their potential, all of them, as a team. That was probably the biggest win ever in our four years here [including the former Rockland District High School]."
Foster, along with her husband and assistant coach, Jason, and assistant coach, Christine Clayton, have endured their share of hardships over the years. The trio saw Rockland finish 0-18 three years ago and 1-17 two years ago in the school's final season, only to see the Mariners emerge as a playoff team last season. Interestingly, Foster is a RDHS graduate and Clayton a GVHS graduate.
Grover, who played her first two years of ball for GVHS and the last two at Oceanside (the combination of those two former schools), said the team win was more important than her milestone, given the Mariners a chance to potentially clinch a top-three seed and an automatic berth to the Eastern Class B quarterfinals next month.
"We'll actually get to go to Bangor this year and I know my whole team is looking forward to it," Grover said. "This game was really important to us."
The Mariners, who led Friday's game 13-12, 25-20 and 38-28 at the quarter breaks, received strong contributions across the board both offensively and defensively from many players in Friday's signature win.
Also scoring for the hosts were Emily Gould with 11 points, while Brooke Dugan tallied, nine; Hannah Plourde, seven; Phoebe Ferraiolo, four; and Ashley Gardner, three.
For Nokomis, Taylor Shaw scored 15 points; Anna MacKenzie, 13; Traci Carson, 10; Kelsie Richards, three; and Kylie Richards and Mikayla Charters, both two.
Coach Foster anticipated the press-heavy Warrior defense as the Mariners had been game-planning for it all week in practice.
"For the last five practices, we've had a no-dribble practice," she said. "If you dribble, you run, and you saw that with our press-break tonight how easy it was for us to break it. I'm surprised [Nokomis coach Michelle Paradis] stayed with that press."
Both Oceanside's methodical possessions down the stretch and their free-throw shooting helped the Mariners prevent any chance of a Warrior rally, as the hosts shot 13-of-19 (68 percent) from the line as Nokomis got no closer than five points in the final stanza.
"We shoot a lot of foul shots in practice and if we don't shoot a certain percentage, we run, and it's paying off," said coach Foster.
The Mariners were 16-of-26 (62 percent) from the charity stripe for the game, while the Warriors were 14-of-24 (58 percent).
Plourde rattled in two free throws with 1:56 left to put Oceanside ahead 46-38, while Ferraiolo dove to the floor for the ball on the other end of the court as the ball bounded off a Warrior player and the Mariners retained possession.
Gould then hit 1-of-2 at the line followed by a baseline jumper by Plourde with 1:15 left to push the Mariner lead to double-digits with 1:15 remaining and put the game out of reach.
In the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Eastern Class B, Oceanside (9-1, 45.3704 points) is first in the 19-team region. The top 13 teams qualify for the playoffs.
Several student-athletes amassed 1,000 or more points points for the former GVHS and Rockland District High School, which combined to form Oceanside.
For GVHS, Travis Magnusson, Scott Johnson, Chris Strong and Mia Lombardo scored 1,000. For RDHS, Terry Kennison, Ernie Kavanagh, Rich Mazurek, Matt Breen, Caitlin Hynes and Chris Nolan surpassed that milestone.
Grover is the first student-athlete to collect her 1,000th point in the Rockland-based gymnasium since Gordon Fischer, who accomplished the feat for the Camden Hills boys in a game against Rockland during the 2008-09 season.
Courier Publications Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at email@example.com.