East Grand hoop squads remain positive on the season

Joseph Cyr, Special to The County
1 month ago

HODGDON, Maine — The final scores of Monday night’s boys and girls basketball games between Hodgdon and visiting East Grand do not paint an entire picture of what the season has been like for the Vikings.

The East Grand girls fell to Hodgdon 74-19, while the Viking boys lost 88-21, but the spirits of the young Vikings players and their coaches remain positive.

 “It has been very exciting being back with the girls representing my alma mater,” Viking girls coach Rusti Knights said. “We have a lot of inexperience with five eighth-graders and first-time players. I have seen growth.”

The East Grand girls secured their first win of the season on Jan. 20, with a 41-20 home victory over Van Buren. 

“The younger girls have gotten better and better and that will just make us stronger as the year goes on,” the coach added.

Lunging for the ball as the referee looks on during a Jan. 22 game in Hodgdon are East Grand’s Jayden Williams (left) and Hodgdon’s Gracie Little. Hodgdon won 74-19. (Courtesy of Joseph Cyr)

With 13 players on the roster, including five eighth-graders, the East Grand boys have one of the largest teams in several years. The Vikings, at 0-11, are still searching for that elusive first victory, but that has not deterred the squad from having fun this season.

“The boys really enjoy playing, even though it has been rough,” East Grand boys coach Suanne Lindsey said. “They have been showing improvement in every game and are just happy to be out playing. I tell them not to look at the scoreboard because we are focused on improving what we are doing on the court.”

Keeping the team motivated has been coach Lindsey’s biggest challenge thus far, but it is one she is confident will pay dividends in the long run.

“It is a good group of kids who give it all of their heart,” she said. “They do not give up, and I can’t ask for more than that.”

Trying to come up with the ball during a Jan. 22 game are Hodgdon’s Cyran Ciarleglio (left) and East Grand’s Aaron Fortier. Hodgdon beat East Grand 88-21. (Courtesy of Joseph Cyr)

For Hodgdon girls coach Matt Day, the Jan. 22 contest was a homecoming of sorts as he spent two seasons as head coach of both the East Grand boys and girls teams in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons. Several of the players came up to the coach to chat during warmups and in between the two games.

“I have continued to stay in touch with many of the players,” Day said. “I am rooting for all of those kids. We have a really good relationship with between East Grand and Hodgdon. It’s been really good to see these two communities come together.”

In the Jan. 22 girls game, Hodgdon’s Anna Oliver continued her impressive output as she single-handedly outscored the Vikings with 22 points. Gracie Little added 12 for the Hawks, while Meghan Peters chipped in 11; Aleyah Matheson and Tori Gilman both had seven; Ava Ezell scored six; Sydney Harvey had five; and Shae Gilbert, four.

For the Vikings, Jayden Williams scored eight points; Isabella Cowger added six; and Jenna Boyd and Camryn Cowger both had two.

Hodgdon led 23-4, 42-14 and 57-15 at the quarter breaks. The Vikings converted one of four free throws (20 percent), while Hodgdon sank six of 12 foul shots (50 percent).

Going up for a shot is East Grand’s Amos Lindsey (left) as Hodgdon’s Brody Little defends during a Jan. 22 game. Hodgdon won 88-21. (Courtesy of Joseph Cyr)

In the Jan. 22 boys game, all 12 players of the Hodgdon roster got into the scoring action. Cyran Ciarleglio led the way with 20 points, while David Tuttle added 11; Daniel Clark had nine; Michael Fitzpatrick and Derek Golding, both had eight; Wyatt Oliver, Jacob Tuttle and Daniel Henderson each had six; Logan Sherman, five; Brody Little, four; Kody Richardson, three; and Reiley Wright, two.

For East Grand, Aaron Fortier had nine points; Aidan McEwen chipped in four; Amos Lindsey and Noah Gilman both had three; and Nathan Frye added two.

Hodgdon led 21-8; 44-10 and 71-16 at the quarter breaks. The Hawks converted four of eight free throws (50 percent), while East Grand made two of four foul shots (50 percent).