BAR HARBOR — With the tunes and energy of the Mount Desert Island High School band booming through the Bernard Parady Gymnasium, the kickoff for the girls’ varsity basketball home season opener last Friday was just as exciting as the end.
After battling for a lead with the Hermon Hawks in the final quarter of the game, the Trojans emerged with a 41-38 victory, putting their record at 3-0 on the season.
“It was closer than we’d like it to be,” said MDI Coach Brent Barker. “Coming in, I expected [Hermon] to play hard. They are an athletic team. But we made the plays when we needed to, and I was happy with our effort.”
Kelsey Shaw controlled the tip-off for MDI and led the team’s list of scorers with 18 points. Senior guard Sierra Tapley began the scoring for the Trojans off an assist from Abbe Miller and contributed 17 points towards the final score.
Emma Watras added a free-throw point for the Trojans, and Tapley added 2 more in last 10 seconds, but the Hawks battled equally hard to tie the score at 10-10 at the end of the first quarter.
The Trojans quickly took a lead in the second, and Shaw racked up 10 points for the team, including a three-pointer. MDI was up 23-12 at halftime.
The Hawks gained momentum in the second half of the game, making it harder for the Trojans to score. Not only did they erase the deficit with successful free-throw conversions, they added 12 points, compared to MDI’s 4. With a three-pointer in the final seconds of the quarter, the Hawks took a lead at 27-24.
“We needed to come out and be the aggressors in the third period,” said Barker. “We did a good job defensively,” which he explained was the team’s game plan going in. Their opponents however, said Barker, did a “good job of shutting off lanes,” making it difficult for the Trojans to score.
The two teams fought hard in the final quarter, swapping the lead, each adding 14 points to the score board as anxiety built among the fans.
Hawks players sank their free throws and were up 38-37 with 20 seconds to go at the end of the game.
Tapley, however, took charge and hit free throws to seal a 41-38 victory for the Trojans.
MDI was 11 for 15 from the free-throw line.
“We made plays down the stretch when we needed to, and I was really impressed with the way our kids handled themselves when we got ourselves down. Offensively, we made enough shots to win, but we didn’t shoot the ball as well as I hoped we would,” said Barker. “We’re going to take a lot from this game. These close games, as much as they are heart wrenching, they make our team better.”
MDI 72 – WA 47
At East Machias on Wednesday, Dec. 9, Shaw scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Trojans to their second victory of the season. “We got a good stretch run in the first and second quarter, but [Washington Academy] came out and played hard in the third when they could have folded,” said Barker. The Trojans however sank in a three-pointer at the end of the third quarter and went off on a 20-5 run in the fourth. “We got better defensively.”
Tapley and Keely McConomy each contributed 16 points to their 72-47 win over Washington Academy Raiders.
The Trojans are set to host Houlton High School on Saturday, Dec. 19, at 3:30 p.m.