Mount Desert Island’s Olivia Gray drives to the basket as Hermon’s Faith Coombs defends during the first half of a girls’ basketball tournament game Feb. 23 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. MDI’s season came to an end with a 42-32 loss in the Class B North semifinal game as a fourth-quarter comeback attempt came up short. ISLANDER PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELL

MDI girls fall to Hermon in Class B North semifinals

BANGOR — What could have become a total blowout instead turned into a ballgame.

Trailing by 16 points early in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s tournament game, the Mount Desert Island girls’ basketball team could have been considered as good as dead. The Trojans had mustered up next to no offense in more than a quarter and a half, and their opponents were ready to deliver a finishing move.

MDI, though, wasn’t about to let an elimination game end in a full-blown rout. The comeback wasn’t enough to stave off defeat — but if the Trojans were going to go down, this was how it was going to happen.

MDI’s season came to an end with a 42-32 loss to Hermon in Wednesday’s Class B North semifinal game at the Cross Insurance Center. The Trojans fought back to make what looked like it was about to become a blowout game competitive but were ultimately unable to complete the comeback in a season-ending defeat.

“We got down 16, and we easily could have folded, but these kids refused to do that,” said MDI head coach Brent Barker. “They were determined to get back in it and make this game manageable. Unfortunately, we just dug ourselves a hole that was too deep to get out of.”

A cut inside for a basket by MDI’s Elena Alderman following an assist from Olivia Gray provided the only points in the first four and a half minutes before second-ranked Hermon (18-2) took a 3-2 lead on an Allie Cameron 3-pointer. Yet the Hawks then went cold again as Elizabeth Jones scored three baskets to fuel a 9-0 run that put the Trojans up eight.

In the opening half’s final minutes, though, Hermon would finally wake up. Sparked by two 3-pointers each from Charlotte Caron and Faith Coombs, the Hawks ended the half on a 14-0 run to send third-ranked MDI (16-5) into the locker room trailing 17-11.

“I think their pressure on the wing got to us by taking us a little bit out of our offense,” Barker said. “We stopped attacking a little bit. I think we got a little complacent and got to a point where we weren’t getting the ball inside or moving it well. They were able to dictate the pace.”

MDI ended Hermon’s run early in the third quarter as it responded to two baskets from the reigning 2020 Northern Maine champs to keep the deficit to six. That’s when the Hawks scored 12 of the next 14 points to establish their largest lead of the game and put the Trojans in the danger zone.

Jones and Mollie Gray then scored for MDI before Olivia Gray made a 3-pointer to cut the deficit back to single digits. After a Hermon free throw, MDI got back-to-back-to-back baskets from Jones, Carroll and Olivia Gray to pull within five before Hermon hung on with free-throw shooting and defense.

“Brent is a great coach, and that’s an extremely tough MDI basketball team,” said Hermon head coach Chris Cameron. “They know us, and we know them, and we knew this was going to be a grind-it-out game. Even when we went up 15 or so, we knew it wasn’t over. They’re tough.”

Jones finished with a team-high 12 points for MDI. The Trojans also got seven points from Olivia Gray, five points from Alderman, four from Carroll and two each from Mollie Gray and Grace Witham. Caron (13 points) and Elizabeth Wyman (11 points) finished in double figures for Hermon.

The game was the last for MDI seniors Alderman, Carroll, Olivia Gray, Jones, Witham and Emily Carter. Those seniors have been the Trojans’ primary contributors for three years now, and for Barker, it’s a group he wants the MDI community to remember.

“They showed incredibly loyalty to me, to our basketball program and to our community,” Barker said. “We did what we did this season because of the way they play together. … We came up short today, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. They played their tails off.”

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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