Tigers take bite out of Windjammers' postseason plansBowman, Pease, Messer solid offensively for host Camden Hills
Rockport — Despite being a relatively young squad, the Camden Hills girls basketball team showed flashes of sensational play at points this season, especially early and late in the campaign.
Qualifying for the Eastern Class B playoffs certainly was an attainable goal and earning a home prelim playoff contest was attractive to the Windjammers. And, with a win in such a game, Camden Hills would gain valuable tournament experience at the new Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Alas, the final part of that equation did not come to fruition for the Windjammers, who ended up with a tough draw in the opening round of the playoffs, as No. 8 Camden Hills (11-8) lost to No. 9 Gardiner (12-7) 61-52 Tuesday night, Feb. 11 in a regional prelim game.
Camden Hills had tied Midcoast-rival Medomak Valley of Waldoboro in the Heal Point Standings, but the Panthers, who also lost to John Bapst of Bangor in a prelim playoff game Tuesday night, grabbed the seventh spot and the Windjammers the eighth because MVHS won both regular-season games against Camden Hills.
With Tuesday's win, Gardiner moves on to face No. 1 Presque Isle (18-0) on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 4:35 p.m. in a quarterfinal game at the CIC in Bangor.
The Windjammers did not face the Tigers during the regular season.
On Tuesday, Gardiner used strong performances early and late to secure the victory over the Windjammers. The Tigers led 14-7, 24-17 and 42-37 at the quarter breaks.
For Gardiner, Ally Day scored 15 points; Rachel Quirion, 13; Abby Dunn, 12; Morgan Carver, eight; Leah Weymouth, six; Nicole Chadwick, three; and Camden Cone and Haley Tomberlin, two. The Tigers made 10-of-22 free throws (45 percent) and three 3-pointers, including two from Dunn.
Day paced the visitors in the second half with all 15 of her points, while Dunn and Quirion were consistent offensively throughout.
For Camden Hills, which has only three seniors (Jaclyn Gilson, Marissa Libby and Bekah Hilt), Maddie Bowman poured in 19 points; Rachel Pease, 14; Charlotte Messer, 10; Hilt, seven; and Gilson, two. The Windjammers made 8-of-17 foul shots (47 percent) and four treys, three coming from Bowman.
Pease and Bowman were magnificent in the second half as both tallied 14 points in the final 16 minutes to keep Camden Hills in the game.
"Gardiner did a good job on defense against us," said veteran Windjammer coach Marty Messer. "They did a nice job of taking Charlotte [Messer], our usual point guard, out of the offense and forced others to bring the ball up. That really disrupted our offense and we didn't get a lot of good shots. We are usually a good shooting team and the 6-for-30 field goals [which is 20 percent] in the first half hurt us. The first half was the first time we were outrebounded in a half this season.
"You have to give Gardiner a lot of credit. They're a very good team. I was proud of how our girls played hard and never quit."
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Ken Waltz has been member of the media 30 years and has received hundreds of Maine Press Association and New England Press Association awards for his writing, photography and page design. He studied journalism at the University of Maine in Orono. He lives in South Thomaston with his wife, Sarah. The couple has an adult son, Brandon.
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