Tourney Tidbits

8 years ago
HOULTON, Maine — The 2016 basketball tournament for the Houlton girls featured a number of interesting pieces of information. The following is a selection of some noteworthy events.

— With an enrollment of 340 high school students, Houlton was one of the smallest schools in the Class B tournament this year. The cutoff was 325 students. Of the tourney squads from the North, only Central of East Corinth was smaller with 336 students. Presque Isle was the largest school with 550 students.

— Houlton is one of a few schools to win a state championship in one class and repeat that feat after moving up to a larger division in the MPA. Houlton won the gold ball in Class C last year, before realignment caused the team to move up to Class B this year.

— The Houlton band, under the direction of Kevin Mania, played songs simultaneously with the opposing band on a couple of occasions in the tourney. With Gray-New Gloucester in the state game, the two bands played “Final Countdown,” and “Crazy Train,” while with Hermon in the regional championship, the two bands played “Sweet Caroline.”

— The Shires were a perfect 11-for-11 from the foul line in the state championship game. For the tourney, Houlton sank an incredible 46-of-53 free throws (86.8 percent).

— Houlton senior Chelsea Gentle played the entire tournament with a partially torn tendon in a finger on her right hand. For the state game, she played with the pinky and ring finger taped together for stability.

— Friday’s championship proved to be the perfect birthday gift for junior Rylee Warman, who celebrated her 16th birthday on the floor by winning a gold ball. Her father, Clyde, an assistant coach with the team, joked that was the best (and only) present she needed.

— Several of the players were battling a nasty flu bug. Senior Natalie Hill had been throwing up earlier in the day at school, while junior Mikayla Fitzpatrick was sick on the bus ride home.

— The team was welcomed back home with a large motorcade procession beginning near the Interstate-95 off ramp and continuing through town to the high school, where a brief reception was held around 11:30 p.m.