Lady Warriors’ hopes dashed

13 years ago

By Joseph Cyr
Staff Writer

    BANGOR — Until another team knocks them off, the Fort Fairfield girls remain the reigning state Class D champs.
    The No. 5 Tigers (15-4 overall) sent that message to the other teams in Eastern Class D Monday with an impressive 51-45 upset victory over No. 4 Southern Aroostook (15-3) in a quarterfinal game played at the Bangor Auditorium.
    With the win, Fort Fairfield advances to Thursday’s semifinal round, where it will face No. 1 Washburn (17-2 overall) at 3:35 p.m., also at the Bangor Auditorium. Washburn advanced to the semis with a dominating 56-26 victory over No. 8 Bangor Christian.
    Fort Fairfield played Washburn twice on the regular season, losing both contests — 54-46 at Washburn and 51-46 at home.
Houlton Pioneer Times photo/Joseph Cyr
sp-SACS girls-dc4-pt-8OUCH —  SACS’ Sable Altvater comes away with the rebound as Fort Fairfield’s Brooke Beaulieu crashes to the ground.

    Fort Fairfield’s Amanda Hotham led all players with 23 points, despite a constant double team from the opening tip to the final buzzer. Brooke Beaulieu added 19 points for the Tigers, including 10 consecutive points in the game’s final two minutes. Other Tiger scorers were Logan Bubar with four; Danielle Tracy, three; and Sydney Churchill, two.
    For SACS, Olivia Raymond had 14 points, while Sable Altvater added 13; Shelby Hartin, eight; Janel Rockwell and Jasmine Rockwell, each had three; and Desirae Dubois and Kaitlyn Sommers, each had two.
    “We played well in the first half,” Warriors coach Cliff Urquhart said. “In the second half, the story of the game was the 12 turnovers we committed. We really struggled with making good decisions with the basketball.”
    “We stayed with our 1-3-1 zone for most of the game, but did play a little man-to-man in the last few minutes, just to change things up,” Fort Fairfield coach Larry Gardiner said. “It worked pretty well for us. The girls worked hard and that was key for us down the stretch.”
Houlton Pioneer Times photo/Joseph Cyr
sp-SACS girls-dc2-pt-8HACKED — Warrior senior Shelby Hartin, right, is about to get hacked by Fort Fairfield’s Brooke Beaulieu.

    Southern Aroostook scored the game’s first basket as Raymond drilled a short jumper from the low post. The Warriors then made it perfectly clear that they were not going to give Hotham, the Tigers’ best individual player, much leeway on the court, as coach Urquhart urged his squad to double-team her every time she touched the ball.
    That strategy worked well in the first quarter, as SACS scored the first seven points of the game, only to see the Tigers come roaring back with an 11-2 run to close out the quarter on top 11-9.
    SACS worked the ball down low to Altvater and Hartin effectively in the second quarter, as the duo combined to score 10 of the team’s 12 points in the period. SACS took a 21-17 lead into the locker room at the half.
    In the third quarter, Hotham came to life, hitting a 3-pointer, a layup and three free throws, while Beaulieu chipped in with six points for the Tigers. The two teams were knotted 30-30 to start the final period.
    Midway through the fourth quarter, it was Beaulieu’s turn to dominate as the 5-foot, 9-inch senior scored 10 straight points for Fort Fairfield, giving the Tigers a 47-38 lead with 1:58 to play.
Houlton Pioneer Times photo/Joseph Cyr
sp-SACS girls-dc6-pt-8OVER THE BACK — Warrior Kaitlyn Sommers, front, gets fouled by Fort Fairfield’s Amanda Hotham during rebounding action.

    “She [Beaulieu] got on a roll late and we had no answer for her,” Urquhart said.
    The Warriors suffered a mental lapse at a crucial moment, late in the fourth quarter. With the Tigers up 47-40 with 1:46 to play, SACS let a minute tick off the clock before fouling to stop play.
    “That was a mental mistake for sure,” Urquhart said. “I was screaming for the girls to foul. I think they knew they needed to, but weren’t quite sure who to foul.”
    After a pair of rare misses from the free throw line by the Tigers, Janel Rockwell drilled a 3-pointer with 40 seconds to play, cutting the Tiger lead to 47-43. The Tigers then sank four of six foul shots down the stretch for the win.
    The Tigers converted 15-of-21 free throws (71 percent), while SACS made just one of two foul shots (50 percent).

WARRIORS 9 12 9 15 — 45
TIGERS      11 6 13 21 — 51