Rickards propels Katahdin girls past Shead, into ‘D’ North semifinals

6 years ago

BANGOR, Maine — The Katahdin High School girls basketball team made a solid first-half performance stand up on Monday afternoon.

The No. 4 Cougars from Stacyville limited No. 5 Shead of Eastport to two points in the first half, then survived a scoreless fourth quarter to earn a 23-21 Class D North victory at the Cross Insurance Center.

Katahdin (11-8) advances to play the winner of the game between Southern Aroostook and Jonesport-Beals in Thursday’s 3:35 p.m. semifinal.

“We’ve been here now three years and this is the first time we’ve gotten to the second game, so we’re pretty pumped about it,” said Katahdin coach Jona Fitzpatrick.

Katahdin’s Natalie Rickards, right, and Shead’s Cassidy Wilder fight for the ball during Monday’s Class D North quarterfinal. (Joseph Cyr)

The Cougars played solid 1-2-2 zone defense early and limited Shead to 0-for-17 shooting in the first half. The Tigerettes committed 16 turnovers.

The result was a 13-2 halftime lead.

“It couldn’t go much worse than that,” said Shead coach Cory Sullivan. “Our game plan was our game plan, but we just weren’t executing it.”

Shead responded, took care of the ball and got it inside to senior center Cassidy Wilder, who scored seven of her team-high 11 points to fuel a 10-2 run that cut the deficit to 17-12 midway through the third period.

“They didn’t quit. They came out firing, gave it a run,” Sullivan said.

Katahdin senior spark plug Natalie Rickards hit a 3-pointer to end the quarter and make it 23-14. The Cougars did not score again.

Katahdin tried to run the clock in the fourth, but complicated things by committing seven turnovers in the period.

“We started to turn the ball over, but coach just told us to calm down, play our game, run our plays,” said Rickards.

Two Wilder foul shots cut the deficit to 23-21 with 1:38 left, but Shead then managed only a desperation half-court shot by Halle Sullivan that missed the mark at the buzzer.

Rickards was a force for Katahdin with 18 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots. Hannah Drew added three points, six rebounds and a block.

Justin Cheney (eight rebounds) complemented Wilder with six points for Shead, which received 10 rebounds from Maddie Greenlaw and eight from Anasia Tucker.