Owl hoop teams off until after new year

    WATERVILLE, Maine — The University of Maine at Presque Isle basketball teams were swept by Thomas College Dec. 14 and are now off until after the new year.
The Owls have a 2-4 record after wasting a monster performance from senior co-captain Rebecca Campbell in a 65-57 loss to Thomas College.
Campbell, a senior from Washburn, had game highs of 17 points and 23 rebounds and the Owls had three other players in double digits, but Presque Isle could not break the momentum the Terriers had established early in the match, leading by as many as 10 points in the first half.
Campbell also had four assists and two blocked shots in the loss.
Thomas, who recorded its first victory after beginning with seven losses, had the lead going into halftime, using points from eight different players to go into the locker room with a 29-24 advantage.  Ashleigh Gagne led the Terriers in the first half, scoring seven points and grabbing four rebounds. The Terriers shot 44 percent from the field in the first half, including 40 percent from three-point range.
The Owls were again plagued by a sluggish start, perhaps brought about by the Terriers’ defensive pressure. Thomas forced the Owls into a 30-second shot clock violation on their first possession and according to coach Doug Carter it took the Owls until the mid-point of the first half to gain their bearing and run decent offensive sets. The Owls shot 30 period from the field in the first 20 minutes.
Campbell led UMPI in the first half, scoring 11 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Darby Toth and Brianna Losee each added four points for the Owls prior to intermission.
Thomas came out strong from the break, holding the lead for nine minutes. The Owls took a one-point lead (45-44) with 11 minutes remaining in the game by using a variety of full-court defenses to give the visitors hope, but the Terriers responded by going on an 8-2 run to answer the charge and take back the lead 52-47.
At the 3:26 mark, Churchill made a layup and Campbell made two foul shots a minute later to cut the Terrier lead to four at 58-54. The Owls continued to fight through the poor shooting performance (34 percent for the game) but could not convert their steals into points on the offensive end. The Owls forced 20 Terrier turnovers and had 13 steals on the day.
In the final 40 seconds, Thomas went 5 for 6 from the foul line to seal the victory.
Losee added six points in the second half to finish with 10 and sophomore Sydney Churchill added 15 points and three steals. Toth finished the game with 11 points, four steals and five assists and leads the USCAA in assists per game.
UMPI will break for finals this week and return to action Jan. 2 and 3 at the Can-Am Tournament in St. John, New Brunswick.

Owl men fall short against Thomas Terriers
Thomas College was able to capture a 66-65 win on their home floor by overtaking UMPI in the final five seconds Dec. 14.
Leading by two with 13 seconds left, the Owls turned over the game to their defense in hopes of capturing the final game before the winter break. With seven ticks on the clock, Justin Murray of Thomas attacked the basket on the dribble. Realizing the Owls still had a foul to give, Owl sophomore Nick Lenhard attempted to make a play on the ball to force the Terriers to inbound with only seconds remaining. However, an intentional foul was called along with an awarded field goal, giving Thomas the tie and then eventually the lead when Murray connected on one of two free throws.
Despite Thomas also getting the ball out of bounds, the Owls forced a held ball on the inbound and still had three seconds to attempt to travel the length of the floor for the win. Freshman Maurice Harris’ attempt missed left and UMPI suffered the heart-breaking loss.
The Owls had taken control of the game at halftime, leading 41-33 on the strength of junior Chase Vicaire, Harris, and freshman Trevor Lovely, who provided spark off the bench.
Harris also collected nine rebounds in the contest along with three steals by Lenhard to put the Owls in good position to collect their eighth win.
UMPI was able to keep a lead in the game for much of the second half, but at the halfway point Murray hit two big three-point goals and his Terriers continued to chip away from the free throw line, where they were 15-17 on the night.
The Owls conversely were 10 for 17 from the charity stripe. Freshman Sam Smith gave UMPI a two-point advantage with 38 seconds to play, but a turnover on the ensuing possession left UMPI on defense at the end of the game, leading to the hosts’ comeback.
The team will have time off for finals and winter break, and then are in action next in the Can-Am Tournament in New Brunswick, Canada Jan. 3 and 4. They will play the University of New Brunswick-St. John and Crandall University during the weekend.