The Old Town High School girls basketball team opened the season against the Hermon, the team that ended the Coyotes’ 2019-20 season with a 47-34 victory in the Class B North semifinals at the Cross Center in Bangor.
The Hawks, who won the regional title before losing to Wells in overtime in the state final, dealt Old Town three of its six losses last winter.
The Coyotes bounced back on Tuesday night, using a 16-1 first-half run to build a 17-point lead before withstanding a furious fourth-quarter rally to post a 38-30 triumph at MacKenzie Gym in Old Town.
“Whenever you play a Hermon team, especially the last few years, they’re big, they’re aggressive, they’re good on the boards and they’re great on the foul line. So you have to keep them of the boards and be aggressive and limit their shots out by the arc,” Old Town coach Heather Richards. “And we did a really good job of that in the first half.”
Old Town led by as many as 23 points late in the third period, but Hermon Hawks cut the deficit to seven with 1:35 remaining.
Hannah Richards sank three free throws in the final 1:14 to help the Coyotes (1-0) hold on.
Hermon fell to 1-1 after beating Orono in its season opener.
“It was definitely a nice win,” said Richards, one of Coyote tri-captains. “Last year left a bad taste in our mouths.
“Tonight we showed we could compete with them,” added Richards, who finished with seven points, four steals and three rebounds.
Junior forward and tri-captain Sydney Loring tallied a team-high nine points, all in the first half, and also grabbed six rebounds. Freshman Saige Evans came off the bench and registered seven points, three rebounds and two steals.
Loring had six points during the 16-1 run in the first half that supplied Old Town with a 22-5 lead. Evans had four points and another freshman, Makayla Emerson, came off the bench and nailed a 3-pointer.
Old Town led 25-9 at the intermission after forcing numerous turnovers with its superior quickness and tenacious man-to-man defense. That continued in the third quarter and the hosts took a 34-13 lead into the final eight minutes.
“We really bought into defense tonight which is really big because Hermon is a very good inside-out team. They have some big players who can be inside and shoot outside,” Hannah Richards said.
Hermon put together a 15-1 run that closed the gap to 35:28 with 1:35 to go.
“Old Town is a quick team and you have to be aware of that,” Hermon assistant coach Christy Leeman said.
Head coach Chris Cameron and his daughter, sophomore guard Allie Cameron, missed the game due to COVID-19-related issues.
Leeman said the head coach is expected back on Wednesday.
Hermon shot just 3-for-16 from the floor in the first half compared to Old Town’s 10-for-26.
“We weren’t patient enough on offense,” said Leeman, who was proud of Hermon’s second-half comeback.
“We really buckled down on defense,” she said.
Maddie Arsenault contributed four points, five steals and three rebounds for Old Town, which got four points apiece from Makayla Emerson and Lexi Thibodeau and three points and three steals from Maddie Emerson.
“Old Town is a very good team. We were worried about them,” said junior forward Charlotte Caron, who paced the Hawks with nine points. “We showed good improvement in the second half.
Hermon received six points, five rebounds and two steals from Sydney Gallop, five points, four rebounds and two steals from Maddie Lebel, four points and two steals from Jade Leeman and three points and a game-high eight rebounds from Megan Tracy.