The Gilman Street Surge, seven rising freshmen and eighth-graders from eastern and central Maine, placed fourth at the recent AAU Division II eighth-grade girls basketball championships in Orlando, Florida.

Team members were Jaycie Christopher, an eighth-grader from Skowhegan, and incoming freshmen Emily Curtis of Princeton, Peyton Grant of Plymouth, Bodhi Littlefield and Brooke Martin of Oakland, Sophie McVicar of Calais and Hannah Richards of Bradley.

Coaches were Jody Grant of Plymouth and Jon Christopher of Skowhegan.

The team, which managed just one pre-tournament practice, got off to a sluggish start with a 1-2 record in pool play to qualify for championship-round play as a No. 3 seed.

The Maine squad then ripped off three straight victories to reach the semifinals of the 26-team event, defeating New York GV Pride 52-16, Providence, Rhode Island, 48-30, and the Katy, Texas, Rebels, 43-37.

The title quest then ended with a hard-fought 46-38 loss to Paye’s Undisputed of California, a game that was tied with four minutes remaining.

The Surge subsequently dropped the third-place game to the Norfolk, Virginia, Express 39-30, to finish with a 4-4 record.

The Maine team featured a defense that allowed just 36.5 points per game against opponents that otherwise were routinely scoring in the 50s and higher.

Murfeesboro, Tennessee, scored a 10-point victory over Paye’s Undisputed in the championship game.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...