Ashland falls in sloppy D North quarterfinal

6 years ago

Ashland played its trademark pesky defense against No. 3 and undefeated Deer Isle-Stonington Saturday, but the offense struggled as the Hornets’ season ended with a loss in the Class D North quarterfinals.

Despite limiting the Mariners to 9-of-48 shooting from the floor and forcing 22 turnovers, the Hornets surrendered 15 unanswered points during a stretch in the second half and fell, 33-20.

“We could not hit water if we fell out of a boat,” said Deer-Isle Stonington coach Randy Shepard, “but we gutted it out and did enough to win.”

Deer Isle-Stonington (17-0) will next face the winner of No. 2 Woodland in the Class D North semifinals 2:05 p.m. Thursday.

Ashland, the sixth seed, closed out its second consecutive season qualifying for the tournament, which followed an 11-year drought, with a 9-10 record.

The Hornets were within three points (17-14) with less than two minutes to play in the third quarter and had an opportunity to tie the score on a 3-point attempt by Shelby Stolze that was off the mark. Soon after that, the Mariners took over. Lillian Gray canned a pair of field goals and three teammates combined to hit eight consecutive free throws, while the defense shut out Ashland over a span of 8:41.

Gray and Kaylee Morey each finished with nine points to lead Deer Isle-Stonington. All of Morey’s came from the foul line, where she was 9-for-11 for the game.

“They had a couple tall girls and we just don’t match up well against bigger teams,” said Hornet coach Ben Lothrop. “We just didn’t get into a good rhythm.”

Poulin, a freshman battling a sprained thumb which she aggravated and forced her to sit out several minutes in the third quarter, netted 11 as Ashland’s lone double-digit scorer.

To begin the game, Deer Isle-Stonington went inside constantly against the much shorter Hornets’ 2-3 zone and ended up leading throughout, taking its largest lead (15-7) of the half after Gray hit field goals 30 seconds apart late in the second quarter.

Poulin scored Ashland’s final six points of the half on two free throws and a pair of 12-footers from the baseline and the Hornets ended up trailing 15-9 at the break.

Just like in the second half, the first 16 minutes was plagued by poor shooting and numerous turnovers by both teams, as Deer Isle-Stonington hit on only five of its first 27 shots and Ashland connecting on just 3 of 25. Each team committed 11 turnovers.

Lothrop said that despite the loss, the 2017-18 season will go down as a success in his first year back at the helm in a decade.

“We had a great year and I thought the seniors were fired up for basketball and they took the underclassmen along with them, so that was fun,” said Lothrop. “We’re going to hold our heads up high and get ready for next year.”