OLD TOWN, Maine — On a frigid January night, the Hermon High School girls basketball team made sure the Old Town High School Coyotes’ shooting mimicked the weather.
The Hawks avenged their only loss of the season with a stifling half-court man-to-man defense that held Old Town to a 10 for 39 shooting night from the floor (25.6 percent), including an 0 for 14 showing beyond the 3-point arc as they triumphed 38-28 at the MacKenzie Gym on Tuesday.
Hermon is now 7-1 while Old Town fell to 6-1. Old Town had beaten Hermon 52-41 in Hermon on Dec. 16.
Six-foot senior forward Maddie Lebel, who will play for St. Joseph’s College in Standish next season, finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots for the winners and 5-9 senior forward Liz Wyman complemented her with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Senior guard Sydney Gallop contributed seven points, three rebounds and two steals. Charlotte Caron grabbed five rebounds.
“Their 3-pointers killed us last time so we knew we had to close out hard on them,” Lebel said.
“We talked about not helping as much on their cutters so we were almost giving up the two-pointers to cover up the threes,” said Hermon coach Chris Cameron. “The Emerson sisters hit five or six threes in the last game and that was the difference.”
Madelynn and Makayla Emerson combined for 25 points in the Old Town win but were held to four points by the Hawks on Tuesday.
Sophomore forward Saige Evans was the only Coyote to score more than two points as she pumped in 16 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, both game-highs. She also had three steals. Madelyn Arsenault had a game-high four steals and Sydney Loring hauled down four rebounds.
Evans shot 6 for 10 from the floor while the rest of her teammates went 4 for 29 (13.8 percent).
Wyman said the Old Town loss “was definitely a kick in the butt. So we knew we had to work hard.”
The Hawks outrebounded Old Town 28-21 and went 19 for 27 from the free throw line.
“Hermon outplayed us. They came out ready to play and we did not,” Old Town coach Heather Richards said.
“They shot really well from the foul line. Probably at least 50 percent of their points came from the foul line and if we had played better, cleaner defense, they wouldn’t have gotten those chances,” Richards said. “We didn’t box out well, we didn’t shoot well. We didn’t do anything well.”
The Hawks were also able to answer two second-half runs by the Coyotes that pulled the hosts within one.
Old Town used an 8-2 run to make the score 19-18 in the third period but Hermon answered with six straight points as Allie Cameron found a wide open lane to the basket for a layup, Faith Coombs hit a runner from the paint and Lebel scored from inside.
Early in the fourth quarter, Evans scored the final five points during a 6-0 spurt that enabled the Coyotes to reduce the lead to 27-26.
But Hermon responded with six straight points as Wyman and Lebel each sank a free throw, Wyman fed Lebel underneath for a basket and Gallop sank two free throws after she grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled.
“We knew once they went on a run, we had to make a bigger run and work even harder,” Wyman said.
“We knew Old Town was notorious for runs so we knew we had to stop them if we were going to win the game,” Lebel said.
The visitors closed out the game with a 5-0 run triggered by a Lebel drive and pass to Wyman for a basket.
Hermon scored nine straight points in the second period to build a 15-8 lead and held Old Town without a basket in the quarter as the Coyotes missed all eight of their field goal attempts.
Evans made two free throws with 1:48 left in the half to supply the Coyotes with their only points of the period.