Wildcats rally in fourth quarter to beat Houlton girls
HOULTON, Maine — A fourth-quarter surge carried the Presque Isle girls basketball team to a thrilling 46-40 victory over Houlton Tuesday evening.
The skies may have been clear outside, but in Houlton’s Alumni Gymnasium it was raining threes for most of the night as the two squads combined for a whopping 14 3-pointers. In fact, the first three baskets of the game came from behind the 3-point arc.
Presque Isle’s Rosalyn Buck led the deep shooting barrage as she poured in 16 points on the night, including five 3-pointers. Anna Jandreau chipped in with 14 points, while Jorja Maynard added eight; Addison Clairmont had four; Georganna Curtis added three and Karlyn Gilmour had one for the Wildcats.
For Houlton, Gabby Gentle led the way with 13 points, including a trio of 3-pointers. Drew Warman chipped in 11 points, while Emma Swallow had eight; Kaitlyn Kenney added four; and Lily Brewer and Amelia Callnan each had two.
Houlton led for most of the game, racing to a quick 12-0 lead that included three consecutive successful shots from behind the 3-point arc — one from Gentle and two from Warman.
Presque Isle finally got on the scoreboard with a 3-pointer from Buck with 1:10 remaining, but the Shires quickly answered with yet another 3-pointer from Gentle to give Houlton the 15-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Shires maintained that momentum for much of the second quarter thanks to continued success from the perimeter. Houlton took a 23-15 lead into the halftime break.
In the second half, however, Presque Isle came out with renewed vigor. The Wildcats changed things up a bit, moving away from zone defense in favor of man-to-man. That change seemed to bother Houlton, as the Shires were no longer able to get many open looks at the basket.
“We played better against the man defense when we played them in Presque Isle,” Houlton coach Clyde Warman said. “Tonight, the script was flipped and we struggled against it.”
The coach added Presque Isle also had a number of players contribute Tuesday who did not play such a large role against them when they met earlier in the season.
The Wildcats outscored Houlton 22-10 in the final quarter to seal the victory. Presque Isle took its first lead of the game with 5:57 to play on a Jandreau 3-pointer, but it was the play of Buck in that final frame that proved to be the difference. Buck drained back-to-back 3-pointers at the three-minute mark to give the Wildcats a 43-37 lead and Houlton never recovered.
The Shires did have two golden chances in the final two minutes, managing steals that seemed destined for easy layups. But in both cases, the ball rolled off the rim and into the hands of a Presque Isle defender.
“We thought we had a good game plan coming into tonight,” Warman said. “I am incredibly proud of our kids. They played hard start to finish. The one bright spot is the fact that my guard’s are finally starting to let loose and shoot, which is something they have not done up to this point.”
With the victory, Presque Isle improves to 6-4 on the season, while Houlton drops to 3-5.