Lady Shires mount comeback, fall short in Class C quarterfinal

13 years ago

By Joseph Cyr
StaffWriter

    BANGOR — Spotting a team an early lead is never a good thing, but it is especially difficult in the postseason against an unknown opponent.
    That is precisely what happened Tuesday morning as the Houlton girls basketball team squared off against Washington Academy at the Bangor Auditorium in an Eastern Class C quarterfinal. No. 3 Houlton (12-7 overall) fell 43-37 to No. 6 Washington Academy (15-4) in a hard-fought game.
    Amanda Fogarty, a 5-7 junior guard, led the Shires with 14 points, while Marina Cameron, a 5-5 sophomore, chipped in 13. Taylor Bailey added five points for the Shires, while Makala Folsom had three and Tori Hanson, two.
    The Raiders used a balanced scoring attack in Tuesday’s quarterfinal. Taylor Seeley led the way with 14 points, followed by Kristi Wright and Jessa Cushing, each with six; MacKenzie Foss, Brandelyn Hodgdon and Christy Smith, each with five; and Kayleigh Bridges, two.
Houlton Pioneer Times photo/Joseph Cyr
sp-shires-dc5-pt-8INSIDE MOVE — Houlton’s Tori Hanson, right, goes up for a shot as Washington Academy’s Jessa Cushing defends.

    After spotting Washington Academy a 29-12 lead at the half, Houlton came out with renewed vigor in the third quarter, whittling the Raider lead to four points (33-29).
    “At halftime we talked about this [game] being a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Houlton coach Shawn Graham said. “I said, ‘Please girls, don’t quit on me. Keep fighting. Keep battling. They [Washington Academy] outscored us in the first half, there’s no reason we can’t return the favor in the second half.’”
    The Shires did just that as Houlton scratched its way back into the game and managed to go up 37-36 with 2:50 remaining to play when Fogarty scored on an open layup off an inbounds play.
    “When we took that one-point lead, we really needed to get a stop,” Graham said.
    Houlton nearly got that stop when Cameron stripped the ball at half-court, but was unable to keep her footing as she tossed the ball back into play, into the hands of a Washington Academy player. Seeley, a 5-9 senior forward for the Raiders, then scored with a nice baseline move, which gave back the lead to Washington Academy (38-37) with 2:11 to play.
Houlton Pioneer Times photo/Joseph Cyr
sp-shires-dc2-pt-8REBOUNDING — Houlton’s Taylor Bailey, middle, reaches for the rebound along with Washington Academy’s Taylor Seeley, left, and Kayleigh Bridges.

    The Shires were unable to sink another basket as the Raiders scored on a layup by Smith and free throws by Foss and Hodgdon down the stretch to seal the win.
    “I told the girls to leave it all on the floor with no regrets and they did,” Graham said. “When you spot a good team that many points and you are not real deep, fatigue sets in late. I am extremely proud of them. We are going to walk out of here feeling very proud of our team.”
    Played in front of a large crowd of Shiretown fans, both squads got off to a sluggish start as 2:30 ticked off the clock before the first points of the game were scored. Houlton had difficulty penetrating inside against a taller Raider squad, and consequently, was often limited to just one shot.
    Coach Graham said he felt nerves got the better of his team in the first half, which allowed Washington Academy to get out a big halftime lead.
Houlton Pioneer Times photo/Joseph Cyr
sp-shires-dc4-pt-8BLOCKED —  Shire Marina Cameron, left, gets her shot blocked by Washington Academy’s Brandelyn Hodgdon.

    “We also didn’t rotate well and had some miscommunication out there,” Graham said. “We felt if we could contain Seeley and Smith, and get some stops defensively, then we would have a shot.”
    Houlton made six of 15 foul shots (40 percent) and had just one 3-pointer in the game. The Raiders sank 7 of 11 free throws (64 percent) and made four 3-pointers.

RAIDERS 12 17 4 10  —    43
SHIRES     9  3  17 7 —    37