BAR HARBOR — Defense has been a focus for the Mount Desert Island High School varsity girls’ basketball team. On Monday, when the Trojans’ shots weren’t falling on offense, that defense guided them to a 39-30 win against Orono.
The win was the fourth consecutive road victory for the fifth-place Trojans, which kept pace with some of Class B North’s best teams at the top of the standings.
“We knew our defense was going to carry us,” Coach Brent Barker said. “We didn’t make some of the shots we normally do, but we were still able to pull this one out with how well we guarded inside.”
MDI trailed 7-10 after the first quarter but pulled ahead before halftime with the help of Hannah Chamberlain. The junior made three 3-pointers in the second quarter, and the Trojans (8-1) overcame their early deficit to take a 20-19 lead heading into the break.
In the second half, MDI ramped up its defensive efforts. The Trojans held the Red Riots (2-7) to just two points to enter the final quarter with a 30-21 lead, and a brief Orono run wasn’t enough as Barker’s squad came away with the win.
Julia Watras led all scorers with 14 points, and Chamberlain added nine. Maddy Candage was the third-leading scorer for the Trojans with seven points, and Alexis Clarito, Rachelle Swanson, Maddy Good and Emily Banks rounded out the rest of the scoring.
Orono might have entered the game with a 2-6 record, but Barker knew that record was a bit deceptive. Three of the Red Riots’ losses had come by a combined eight points, and the team’s position in the last playoff spot meant it had a lot on the line.
“Going in there, we knew how badly they needed a win,” Barker said. “With a team like that, you have to throw the records out the window.”
On a less positive note for MDI, the team was 5-of-18 from the free-throw line. Although that didn’t keep the Trojans from victory this time, Barker knows his team will have to improve that aspect of its game.
“You can’t leave that many points on the floor,” Barker said. “We’re going to have to keep working on repetition — being confident at the line and being able to make those shots on a consistent basis.”
The team was still in the toughest portion of its seven-game road stretch as of Tuesday. The Trojans were scheduled to face first-place John Bapst (9-0) on Wednesday and will take on Hermon (10-1) on Friday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m.
After that, MDI will play six of its final seven games at home. The Trojans’ showdown with Old Town on Monday, Jan. 22, at 3:30 p.m. will mark the team’s first home game since its Dec. 18 win over Washington Academy, and a rematch with Hermon looms two days later.
“I don’t think it’s kicked in yet [that we’ll be playing at home so much],” Barker said. “It’s something we’ll think about next week, but we have some business to take care of first.”