The Camden Hills girls basketball will be off to the regional tournament in the coming days, but before heading to Bangor next week, the Windjammers had work to do to dispatch young Rockland Thursday night in both team’s regular-season finales.

The improving Tigers battled hard but, in the end, could not keep pace with the playoff-bound Windjammers, who eventually won 52-26.

Camden Hills (14-4, 96.1728 Heal Points) has earned the sixth spot for the upcoming Eastern Class B playoffs and will face No. 3 Winslow (16-2, 125.3395 points) in the regional quarterfinals the weekend of Feb. 12-13 in Bangor.

The Windjammers handed the Black Raiders one of their two losses with a 49-42 decision earlier in the campaign.

Rockland, under first-year coach Teel Foster, finished 0-18 (no points) and 19th (last) in the region. The previous time the Tigers and Windjammers met this season, Camden Hills won 76-30.

Mount Desert Island (15-2) is ranked first (133.6420 points) in Eastern Class B.

On Thursday, host Rockland led 8-6 after the first quarter before Camden Hills regained control at halftime at 15-10. However, the Tigers would not give up so easily and trailed by one — 23-22 — after three quarters. Camden Hills scored 29 points in the final eight minutes to pull away.

Keying the Windjammers were Jordan Knowlton with 14 points, followed by Maddy Smeaton with 13; Taylor Porter, 10; Gab Duke, four; Jackay Richards, Laura Johanson, and Kylie Carlsen, three; and Hayley Buckheit, two. Knowlton (10 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals), Duke (7 steals, 2 assists) and Maci Heal (7 rebounds) were the team’s statistical leaders.

For Rockland, Hannah Sirois led with 11 points, followed by Macy MacArthur with eight; Allie Curtis, five; and Hannah Plourde two. MacArthur also had 13 rebounds and two steals, while Plourde grabbed six rebounds.

The Tigers were 4-of-9 (44 percent) from the free-throw line and the Windjammers were 10-of-12 (83 percent).

The Tigers were able to anchor the ‘Jammers in the first three quarters, even tying them 8-8 with three minutes to go in the second quarter. In the third quarter, the Tigers scored 12 points to the Windjammers’ eight and it appeared the hosts might pull off the upset and earn their first win in the process.

Rockland coach Foster credited the close score to strong pressure defense applied by her squad. “They were on the floor, they were hustling, they were rebounding, taking their time on offense,” she said.

However, Camden Hills turned around its offensive fortunes in the fourth quarter by scoring a whopping 29 points to secure a decisive win.

“I’m very proud of my girls,” Foster said. She added the last time her team played the Windjammers this season, the Tigers lost by 46 points. “To only be down by one [point] in the third quarter just shows the heart that these girls have. Mini successes prove to these girls that they have what it takes, they just gotta get better. They’ve gotta work on their game this summer. “

“Those girls learned the difference between losing and quitting,” Foster said. She continued by saying they came to practice and games with smiles on their faces. “It says a lot about the kids,” she said.

“I know Rockland, the kids didn’t win a game this year, but to come out and play with that kind of energy [in the] last game of the season with really nothing to lose [challenged us],” said veteran Windjammer coach Jay Carlsen said.

Carlsen said Rockland forced his players to hurry and that, fortunately for his team, the ‘Jammers were able to settle down in the fourth quarter and make their shots en route to the win.

As for the season, coach Carlsen was proud of his student-athletes and the progress they made since last year.

“It’s been very enjoyable,” he said. “The big difference in this team and last year’s team is last year we didn’t have kids that really could score.”

He said the Windjammer have put fall and summer time into the game and can shoot a lot better now. However, Carlsen said the best thing is that the team plays well together, something an opponent’s parent complimented him on.

“That’s what you work hard every night to get the kids to do,” he said. “Your kids will never reach potential if they can’t play together or they don’t play team ball. These kids certainly can do that.”

Click for more photos from the Camden Hills at Rockland game.

Village NetMedia Sports Reporter Frederick Freudenberger can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at fritz@villagesoup.com.