BAR HARBOR — Season openers between the Mount Desert Island High School and Old Town girls’ basketball teams have become somewhat of an annual tradition in recent years. During that span, the Trojans have gotten used to winning starts.
Not since 2012 have MDI and Old Town began the season with opponents besides each other, and it’s been Trojans who gotten the best of their Big East Conference foes. The latest encounter saw MDI prevail again, but it was pretty close.
The MDI girls opened the season Friday night with a 57-50 win over visiting Old Town. The victory marked the fourth consecutive year and fifth in the past six that the Trojans have started the season with a win in the matchup.
“They came in hungry and ready to battle us the whole way,” head coach Brent Barker said of Old Town. “We knew they were going give us a fight because they played us close up there last year the first game of the season and returned a lot of their important players. It was a good opening test for our team.”
A low-scoring first quarter saw the two teams tied at eight. In the second, though, two 3-pointers from Hannah Chamberlain gave the Trojans (1-0) a spark that saw them take a 25-18 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, MDI upped its lead to double digits with a third 3-pointer from Chamberlain and two from Alexis Clarito. Old Town (0-1) fought back in the fourth but couldn’t get within one possession as the Trojans won yet another season opener.
Maddy Candage and Julia Watras led the Trojans in scoring with 15 points apiece. Chamberlain was the next-highest scorer with 13, and Clarito (six), Rachelle Swanson (four), Elizabeth Jones (two) and Lindsey McEachern (two) provided the rest of the points for MDI.
“There were definitely some of those first-game jitters we had to start the game, but that’s something you expect and just have to move past,” Barker said. “I was very happy with how well we responded when they got the lead there and stuck with us early in the game.”
MDI was scheduled to take on Foxcroft (0-1) on Wednesday. The team’s next game will be on the road against Oceanside at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow, Oct. 14, after which it will play a third straight away contest when it takes on Washington Academy at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, in East Machias.
After that three-game stretch, MDI won’t play on the road again for an entire month. Yet the Trojans have work to do away from home first, and the team’s head coach knows coming away from a difficult stretch away games unscathed won’t be easy.
“Our program is about not making excuses,” Barker said. “We had seven or eight games on the road last year starting with mid-late December. So we know what it’s like, and we’ll use it for bonding and for a good test of our strength as a team before we get to play at home again.”