The Star-Herald

Big second half gives PI girls win over Caribou

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — After a closely-contested first half, the Wildcat girls pulled away for a 61-41 basketball victory Tuesday, Jan. 8, in the first of two regular season meetings against their Class B rivals, the Caribou Vikings.

Presque Isle is now 5-4 heading into Saturday’s contest in Orono, while Caribou fell to 1-9 entering a home game Thursday against Houlton.

The Wildcats were up 25-23 at intermission, but it didn’t take very long into the third quarter to stretch the lead.

PI senior Madison Jandreau nailed a 3-pointer from the wing eight seconds into the period. Caribou’s Kimmy Susi netted a pair of foul shots before Madison Michaud answered with a running layup for the hosts. Following a turnover, Jandreau swished another 3-point field goal to make a 33-25.

Caribou coach Kayla Brown said offensive and defensive miscues after halftime cost her team the chance for an upset.

“Unfortunately the unforced turnovers and defensive lapses in the second half caused our opportunity to slip away a bit,” Brown said. “Presque Isle was able to capitalize, and they did a great job knocking down big shots.”

PI coach Jeff Hudson said that one of the differences in his team’s play in the second half “was the intensity with which we played our defense. We were much tougher inside and did a good job rebounding.”

Susi, a junior guard just returning from an injury, banged in a 3-pointer on the other end and teammate Alexis Rodriguez hit a layup to cut the margin to 33-30, but then Maggie Castonguay, who played only three minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, went to work for the Wildcats.

She converted a putback, drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key and nailed two foul shots over the final 3:30 minutes of the third quarter to increase the lead to 44-34. Castonguay ended up tallying 16 of her 17 points in the second half.

“Having Maggie on the bench in foul trouble in the first half did not help,” Hudson said, “but she played with a lot of aggression and intensity in the second half and was really good.”

Freshman Faith Sjoberg notched four 3-pointers and scored 17 of her 23 points in the first half to lead Presque Isle. Still, Caribou used tough defense, strong rebounding and steady shooting to keep it close prior to intermission. The Vikes held their largest lead of (20-16) when sophomore reserve forward Emily Collins hit a layup with 3:05 left.

“I thought we did a better job being patient on offense and taking what the defense gave us in the first half,” Brown said. “ I’m pleased we were able to keep the game within reach as long as we did.”

A 3-pointer by Jandreau and two by Sjoberg over the final 1:40 of the period helped PI take the halftime advantage.

“I was happy with the way Faith responded to the big stage,” Hudson said. “Playing your rival is not always easy and she was really great last night.”

Taylor LaBreck, who was a force inside throughout, and Susi paced Caribou with 10 points each, while Rodriguez added nine and led the defensive charge.

The teams will meet again on Feb. 6 at Caribou High School.

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