Mount Desert Island High School basketball player Rachelle Swanson shoots during Tuesday's home contest against Herman. PHOTO COURTESY OF BARRY GUTRADT

Girls defeat Hermon to reclaim No. 1

BAR HARBOR —Tuesday, the Mount Desert Island High School varsity girls’ basketball team took over first place in Class B North with a 44-40 home win over Hermon. Chamberlain and Watras scored 13 points each for the Trojans (13-2), who got seven apiece from Candage and Clarito and two apiece from Leah Carroll and Rachelle Swanson.

Between road trips to Old Town and Aroostook County last week, the Trojans traveled nearly 650 miles up and down eastern Maine. The 10 hours the team spent on buses in a span of three days were nearly twice what it spent actually playing basketball on the court, but that wasn’t about to stop MDI.

“Like I’ve always said, our team doesn’t make excuses,” MDI head coach Brent Barker said. “We knew we had some long trips ahead of us, but what we wanted to do was make sure we brought some wins back home with us. That’s exactly what we did.”

MDI followed up a tough loss in Hermon two weeks ago with three straight victories to finish off the team’s toughest road stretch of the 2018-19 season. The wins guaranteed a bye to the Class B North quarterfinals for the Trojans, who can still finish anywhere between first and fifth in the final standings.

After last Monday’s scheduled game against Old Town was postponed, the Trojans hit the road Wednesday to take on a Coyotes team that gave the Trojans all they could handle in the Dec. 7 season opener. The two teams fought until the bitter end once again, but MDI pulled out a 54-49 to complete a season sweep in the matchup.

“Their players complement each other very well,” Barker said of Old Town. “Both games we played against them went right down to the wire and really could’ve gone either way. I don’t think they’re a team anyone wants to play in the tournament.”

Maddy Candage of the Mount Desert Island High School varsity girls basketball team at the hoop last Wednesday against Old Town. Candage led the Trojans in scoring in the 54-49 win. PHOTO COURTESY OF BARRY GUTRADT

Maddy Candage led MDI in scoring against Old Town with 15 points, and fellow senior Julia Watras joined her in double figures with 10. The Trojans’ other scorers were Hannah Chamberlain and Alexis Clarito with nine points apiece, Elizabeth Jones with six points, Rachelle Swanson with four and Olivia Gray with one.

On Friday, MDI traveled to Aroostook County to play the away portion of its annual series against Caribou and Presque Isle. The Trojans demolished Caribou 68-34 for their second-biggest win of the season Friday and took down Presque Isle 52-37 the following day to finish 4-0 on the year against their County foes.

“Most of the time, the trip is going to be a success if you just go up there and split,” Barker said. “To go into both games in back-to-back days, show great effort, play great basketball and come away with two wins, I was very happy with that.”

Hannah Chamberlain netted 20 points to lead MDI in scoring against Caribou, and Watras (15 points) and Clarito (12) also made solid contributions to the team’s offensive effort. Candage led the way with 18 points against Presque Isle as Watras scored 14 and Clarito added 11.

MDI is scheduled to play on the road against Orono (5-10) at 7 p.m. Jan. 31. The Trojans will then host Foxcroft for Senior Night at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 4, before facing Ellsworth in the regular season finale at that time Wednesday, Feb. 6.

That final stretch of the season will be a tricky one for MDI, which lost to Ellsworth on Jan. 10 at home and pulled out a close game against Orono four days later. Yet after the Trojans’ success in its most recent road trip, the team isn’t about to back down from that challenge.

“These last few games are all against teams with tournament aspirations,” Barker said. “Everybody is going to be fighting for placement, and in our case, we’re playing three teams that are all in those playoff spots. For us, it’s just about continuing to do what we do and making sure we get better every day.”

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]

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