HOULTON, Maine — Presque Isle coach Jeff Hudson felt that sooner or later his team was due to win a big game.

That time arrived Wednesday evening as the Wildcats (9-4) knocked off previously-unbeaten Houlton, 63-62, in a thrilling game played in Alumni Gymnasium.

The win moved Presque Isle up to third in the Class B North region, and Houlton (12-1) remains the top-ranked team despite the loss.

“We really played a great game tonight,” Hudson said. “Emily [Wheaton] played the game of her life tonight. She didn’t have any turnovers and made some great, great shots.”

Presque Isle sank an incredible 11 baskets from behind the 3-point arc, which is about what the team has averaged all season, Hudson said.

“That’s who we are,” he said. “If we don’t make those shots, we are in big trouble.”

Houlton coach Shawn Graham said that coming into the game it was going to take a strong defensive effort to limit Presque Isle’s Emily Lagerstrom and Wheaton.

He could not have been more accurate as the two Wildcat sharpshooters put on a scoring clinic, with Wheaton drilling four 3-point baskets and a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line, on her way to 32 points.

Lagerstrom sank five 3-pointers and finished with 18 points. No other Wildcat scored more than four points.

Houlton’s Kolleen Bouchard led all players with 34 points, including 10 of 11 free throws, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Rylee Warman added eight points and two assists.

“Houlton refused to go away,” Hudson said. “I thought it was over a couple of times, but Kolleen would come down and score. She is awful tough and a great clutch player.”

Earlier in the game it was Presque Isle who refused to go away as the Shires led for much of the contest, and by as many as nine points in the third quarter, only to see the Wildcats come roaring back.

Presque Isle took the lead for the first time since the first quarter with 7:31 to play as Lagerstrom scored on a layup and was fouled for a traditional three-point play as Presque Isle went up 42-41.

Houlton came close but never led again.

“We were back on our heels a lot tonight and didn’t step out to contest [Presque Isle’s] perimeter shots,” Graham said. “We couldn’t fight through their screens.”

With less than a minute to go in the game, Houlton had no recourse but to foul in order to stop the clock. Twice Houlton had a chance to regain possession of the ball off missed free throws, but they were unable to do so.

“That was the backbreaker for us right there,” Graham said.

Trailing by four points with 19 seconds to go, Bouchard made a nifty scoop shot to cut the lead to 61-59. Presque Isle’s Wheaton was immediately fouled. After she sank both baskets (63-59), the Shires again got the ball into the hands of Bouchard, and the talented junior delivered as she hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to pull within one point (63-62) with three seconds remaining.

Presque Isle struggled to get the ball in bounds on the ensuing play and when they did, Houlton swarmed, forcing a jump ball, with possession going back to the Shires for one last play. Houlton once again fed the ball to Bouchard, who got a quality look at the basket, but her left-handed hook shot from eight feet bounced off the front of the rim as the final buzzer sounded.

“What we can take from this game is we still had a chance to win, and I wholeheartedly believe Presque Isle cannot play any better than they did tonight,” Graham said. “You just tip your cap to the better team that won tonight. I am sure we will meet again in the playoffs.”

Presque Isle 14 20 39 63

Houlton 16 26 40 62