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High school girls basketball

Playoff atmosphere: Panthers, Windjammers put on intense, down-to-wire show

Ultimately, Medomak Valley pulls out thrilling, three-point, overtime victory over Camden Hills
By Ken Waltz | Feb 20, 2021
Photo by: Ken Waltz Medomak Valley's Abby Lash, left, as well as Camden Hills' Mattie Luce, middle, and Bailey Curtis, on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. The host Panthers beat the Windjammers 56-53 in overtime.

Waldoboro — For 36 grueling and hard-fought minutes — including four in overtime — Medomak Valley and Camden Hills players battled sneaker-to-sneaker for each inch of the court, loose ball and precious point.

From the first second to the final buzzer, the atmosphere was tense and intense as the young student-athletes left every ounce of energy — indeed, figuratively their hearts and souls —  on the court.

They finished the thrilling, pandemic-altered, late-season affair with nothing more to give and few regrets because, while the pace of play often was frantic and hectic, and turnovers plagued the teams, the players gave their all and, ultimately, let the chips fall where they may.

Watch video and see 60 photos below.

Click to watch livestream of game's first half.

Click to watch livestream of game's second half.

In the end, in a spirited high school girls basketball contest, with a playoff feel that rivaled those played at the former Bangor Auditorium, Cross Insurance Center in Bangor or Augusta Civic Center, Medomak Valley pulled out a 56-53 win over vastly-improved Camden Hills.

The game, which had six lead changes and five ties in regulation, had it all, including postseason intensity and plenty of clutch play from both teams. And, somehow, even without spectators, the players generated a boatload of energy.

That is what an athletic rivalry, even in a pandemic, can provide as the opponents and players wanted to earn bragging rights — and a precious win.

"What an awesome game," said Windjammer coach Kim Kuhn. "I am so proud my girls. They truly came to play tonight and gave Medomak [Valley] everything they had. It’s been so exciting as a coach to watch them improve after every game. It’s unfortunate that a team had to lose tonight because it was such a hard-fought game between two rival Midcoast teams."

That also was true because the Windjammers nearly pulled out an impressive road victory after they had lost 48-34 early in the season to the Panthers at home.

The Panthers, whose only loss on the campaign was to unbeaten Oceanside of Rockland, improved to 8-1, while the Windjammers dropped to 2-7.

On Friday, the Windjammers grabbed a 16-9 first-quarter lead before the Panthers clawed back to tie the game 27-27 at halftime. Medomak Valley led 43-42 after three stanzas and the game was knotted 53-53 at the end of regulation.

Autumn Ripley netted two free throws and Abby Lash one for the only points in the four-minute overtime. Those foul shots proved precious net results that were enough to give Medomak Valley the victory.

Addison McCormick, immense on the boards, tallied 20 points for the Panthers, while Maya Cannon, 12; Lash, 11; Julia Kunesh, five; Ripley, four; and Sara Nelson and Baylee Stewart, two. The Panthers made 14-of-24 foul shots (58 percent), including 7-of-12 from Lash.

McCormick proved tough inside as she scored six points in the first quarter, four in the second, two in the third and eight in the fourth. Cannon, who also was solid inside, scored all her points in the final three quarters of regulation.

"It was a very intense game and Camden [Hills] really came to play," said Panther coach Ryan McNelly. "We had to adjust multiple times and I am proud that we were able to do that. We still need to work on [limiting] turnovers, but I am proud that we maintained our poise throughout the game."

For the balanced Windjammer offensive attack, Tessa Whitley tallied 11 points; Mattie Luce 10; Ella Powers, nine; Bailey Curtis, seven; Molly Hixon and Amelia Johnson, five; Ella Graffam, four; and Molly Shook, two. Camden Hills made 3-of-13 foul shots (23 percent) and Powers, Whitley, Hixon and Johnson netted treys.

Graffam left the game in the fourth quarter with an injury and did not return.

Additionally, Whitley, again all over the court with her infectious spirit and hustle, finished with 10 rebounds, six steals and three assists. Powers added three assists, three steals and three rebounds; Shook, two blocked shots and six rebounds; Amelia Johnson, five steals and two assists; and Maddie Luce, four rebounds, five steals and two assists.

Early on Camden Hills used aggressive, full-court defense and an end-of-the-quarter run to grab a 16-9 edge at the break. Early in the second stanza, Johnson connected on a trey to give the visitors at 19-9 advantage.

The teams traded hoops, including Whitley's three-pointer, in the up-and-down action as the Windjammers led 24-16. However, the Panthers outscored the visitors 11-3 — including Lash making 1-of-2 free throws after time expired and the teams standing at their benches watching — the rest of the stanza to knot the game 27-27 at the break.

While Camden Hills hampered itself from the foul line — and the Panthers, subsequently, made hay from the charity stripe — the Windjammers helped themselves from beyond the arc, as Hixon drilled the team's fourth trifecta of the game to push the visitors back in front 35-29 with 6:10 left in the third.

Camden Hills built leads of six points twice before the Panthers pushed back, as they used a 10-4 run to close the quarter for a one-point lead. One of Medomak Valley's hoops during that push was an inside bank from Cannon on a nifty pass from Paris Pierpont, who was sprawled on the floor when she made the assist.

Medomak Valley built a 49-44 edge early in the fourth on hoops from Cannon and McCormick on nifty passes from Grace White and Lash. Then Graffam was forced to hobbled off the court after falling hard with 3:49 left and the hosts holding a 49-47 lead.

McCormick converted two inside banks, one off a nice Ripley feed, as the Panthers took what appeared a comfortable 53-47 lead. However, the pesky, never-give-up Windjammers fought back with six points to end the quarter as that final burst included Whitley's transition left-handed layup from Powers, Shook on an inbounds play and Johnson's bank.

Both teams had opportunities to score in the final seconds but could not convert.

Camden Hills at Medomak Valley girls basketball
Medomak Valley hosts Camden Hills on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Video by: Ken Waltz and Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Scene from Camden Hills at Medomak Valley on Feb. 19 in high school girls basketball in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
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