Before Monday’s Western Class D quarterfinal playoff game at the Augusta Civic Center, the Vinalhaven and Seacoast Christian School girls basketball squads did not know much about each other, having not faced off during the regular season.

Following the No. 2 Vikings’ 41-29 victory over the No. 7 Guardians Monday, Seacoast Christian (7-11) now understands one thing about the islanders: namely that they have their sights set on challenging for a regional title this week.

The Vikings (15-2) took the first step toward that quest with Monday’s win in Augusta. Vinalhaven will next face No. 3 Greenville (15-2) in a semifinal playoff game on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 10 a.m. in Augusta.

The third-seeded Lakers defeated No. 6 Hebron Academy (10-9) 52-45 in the early quarterfinal playoff game Monday in Augusta.

The Vikings and Lakers split two games during the regular season, losing 44-39 Jan. 22 and winning 47-43 Jan. 23.

After falling in the quarterfinal round last year to Rangeley on a shot at the buzzer, Vinalhaven coach Lindsay Davis and her team are happy to have that monkey off their backs and to be headed to the semifinal round.

“We definitely were still haunted in the back of our minds by the buzzer-beater,” said Davis in reference to last year’s shocking quarterfinal exit. “It’s definitely a good feeling [to be moving on].”

On Monday, the Vikings started strong and led 12-4, 26-8 and 29-17 at the quarter breaks.

Keying the Vikings’ offense were Brooke Conway with 11 points; Chelsea Moyer, seven; Jenn Guptill, eight; Eliza Drury, six; Amelia Davidson, four; Jennie Candage and Blake Reidy, both two; and Alana Watt, one.

Leading the Guardians’ offense were Ruth Towne with nine points; Amberle Bennett and Stephanie LaCroix, both seven; MaKayla Harris, four; and Kirin DeSmith, two.

Vinalhaven netted 15-of-23 free throw attempts (65 percent), while Seacoast Christian made 2-of-7 free throws (29 percent).

After jumping to a sizable lead in the first half, the Vikings seemed to put the game on autopilot in the second half as they allowed the Guardians to sneak back into the game, cutting the islanders’ lead to single digits midway through the fourth quarter.

The Vikings shot well from the charity stripe in the final stanza, netting 10-of-13 free throws (77 percent) — including 5-of-6 from Moyer — to help the islanders pull away.

“Our offense [in the second half] just wasn’t happening,” said coach Davis. “We were lucky that the lead we had in the first half kept us in it.”

But a win is a win, and Vinalhaven will take it as it prepares to face Greenville. Both teams have identical 15-2 records heading into Thursday’s showdown, and Davis hopes the Vikings can build on Monday’s effort and sail back to the regional final for the second time in three years.

“We definitely need to get some offense going and we need to box out better,” said Davis. “If we can do that we should be in good shape. We’ll look to get [Greenville’s Saige] Weeks in foul trouble. She will be their key player — her and [Gretel] Breton. We’ve played them and we’ve watched them play. We know what we need to do, we just need to execute.”

Vinalhaven netted the first 11 points of Monday’s quarterfinal contest against Seacoast, as Conway connected on a free throw, followed by Conway, who scored off an offensive rebound. Guptill then scored on a fastbreak layup followed by a jumpers from Davidson, Candage and Conway.

Click for more photos from the Vinalhaven and Seacoast playoff game.

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