Mount Desert Island’s Elena Alderman eyes the basket during a girls’ basketball playoff game against Washington Academy on March 3 in Bar Harbor. The third-ranked Trojans defeated the No. 6 Raiders 54-35 to advance to Big East Class B quarterfinals. ISLANDER PHOTO BY SARAH HINCKLEY

MDI girls top WA in quarterfinals, fall to Hermon in semis

MDI’s Leah Carroll looks to maneuver through the Washington Academy defense during a girls’ basketball playoff game March 3 in Bar Harbor. Carroll scored a game-high 15 points for the Trojans in the win.

BAR HARBOR — A productive season for the Mount Desert Island girls’ basketball team concluded with a successful slate of games in last week’s Big East Class B pod tournament.

MDI claimed a tournament win last Wednesday as it defeated Washington Academy 54-35 in the pod quarterfinals in Bar Harbor. The Trojans then fell to a 49-40 defeat Friday in a tightly contested semifinal battle against Hermon at Hermon High School.

Last Wednesday, third-ranked MDI opened tournament play with a first-round matchup against No. 6 Washington Academy. The Trojans jumped on the visiting Raiders early on and maintained a double-digit lead throughout the game to seal a tournament win.

Leah Carroll led MDI in scoring with 15 points, and Mollie Gray added 11. The Trojans also got six points apiece from Olivia Gray and Grace Witham, four each from Elena Alderman and Elizabeth Jones and two each from Bella Brown, Emily Carter, Abbie Farley and Molly Ritter.

The win was MDI’s second in as many matchups against Washington Academy this season. The Trojans previously defeated the Raiders on Feb. 9 as they made the trip to East Machias for their longest road trip of the season.

“We played a solid game,” MDI head coach Brent Barker said of his team’s pod quarterfinal win. “WA is a well-coached team, and we had to win a tough one against them when we went out there to play them earlier this season. I was happy with how we played.”

MDI returned to action Friday night with a Big East Class B semifinal showdown at Hermon. The Trojans (8-7) trailed the game by a single point in the fourth quarter before the second-ranked Hawks went on a late run to bring MDI’s season to an end.

“We’re obviously not happy that we lost, but we fought and gave ourselves an opportunity,” Barker said. “We were down by one with five minutes to go, and that’s where you want to be against those good teams. We both made some plays, and they just made a few more than we did.”

Mollie Gray finished with a team-high 10 points for MDI. The Trojans also got eight points from Carroll, six points from Jones, five from Carter, four each from Alderman and Witham and three from Olivia Gray.

The contest against Hermon, the defending Class B North champion, was one of many challenging games this year for MDI. The Trojans also played two games against reigning Class A North champion Hampden Academy, one against Class AA semifinalist Bangor, three against an experienced Ellsworth team and even a matchup against a top-seeded Old Town that was a last-second addition to the schedule.

“When you play 15 games, and the majority of those games are against teams like that, it’s tough, but that’s what you want,” Barker said. “We got better because of that schedule because we learned and were pushed. If we had played an easy scheduled and won every game by 30 points, we wouldn’t have learned anything.”

After finishing that season with a winning record despite that schedule, MDI will be aiming to do big things next season. With only one player, Abbie Farley, set to graduate, the Trojans will have the pieces to make a run in 2021-22.

The real victory this season, though, was merely the chance to compete in the first place. That chance was far from assured when discussions of a potential season began in November. Even as weather and COVID-19 concerns caused problems for an already tight playing window, the Trojans were able to play their full slate of games.

“We made it, and that’s really the biggest thing for us,” Barker said. “The kids got to play basketball, and we never had to miss a game. We’re lucky to have a great administration that helped make it work for us, and we also have great fans and support. Hopefully, we’ll have everyone back together in the gym next year.”

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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