HAMPDEN, Maine — Undefeated Messalonskee High School has plenty of weapons in addition to 2015-16 Bangor Daily News All-Maine Schoolgirl third-team selection Sophie Holmes.
And one just so happens to be Gabrielle Wener.
The 6-foot-1 freshman scored a career-high 21 points, including five 3-pointers, and she also grabbed seven rebounds and made two steals to lead the Eagles to a hard-fought 54-41 basketball victory over Hampden Academy on Friday night.
Messalonskee of Oakland improved to 11-0, and Hampden fell to 8-4.
The game was closer than the score indicated as the Eagles led by just three with six and a half minutes remaining and by six with three minutes remaining.
The resilient Broncos kept battling back when it appeared as though Messalonskee was about to distance itself from them.
But Wener finally sewed up the win and capped her terrific night by popping home an offensive rebound with 2:45 remaining and then hitting a runner from the base line to expand the lead to 10.
“I got great passes from my teammates,” said Wener. “And they were letting me get open by moving the ball across the court. That led to open shots all around.”
“Gabrielle has always been a great shooter. Tonight we needed someone to step up, and she really came through for us,” said senior Holmes, who had 16 points, six rebounds and three steals.
“She’s a complete player, which is not normal for a freshman,” said Messalonskee coach Keith Derosby.
The Broncos used a 15-7 run in the second quarter to erase a 12-5 deficit and take their only lead of the game, 20-19, with 1:39 left in the half.
But Wener nailed a pair of threes to close out the half and give the Eagles a lead they would never relinquish, although Hampden pulled within three on two occasions in the second half.
Hampden used a 7-0 spurt in the third quarter to pull within 32-29.
Holmes then made a steal and went the length of the court for a layup, and she also converted a free throw as she was fouled on the play.
Marissa Gilpin’s basket sliced the lead to 35-31, but Wener nailed a three-pointer off a Makayla Wilson pass to close out the quarter.
Sophia Narofsky converted a Peyton Smith pass and then sank a pair of free throws to make it 38-35, but Holmes fed Ally Turner for a three-pointer, McKenna Brodeur scored with a putback off a Wener miss, and Holmes hit a leaner while falling away from the basket after rebounding a missed free throw.
Hampden couldn’t get any closer than six the rest of the way.
Brodeur finished with eight points, four assists and three steals, and Turner had six points, four rebounds, two blocked shots and two assists.
Bailey Donovan had an outstanding night for the Broncos as the 6-foot-3 sophomore wound up with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Narofsky had eight points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots, and Gilpin had seven points.
“[Donovan] was a handful. She was getting rebounds and putbacks. She has improved,” said Holmes.
Hampden coach Tim Scott said he was proud of his team’s performance.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more from my team,” said Scott.