By Joseph Cyr, Special to The Houlton Pioneer Times
HOULTON, Maine — A stellar shooting performance catapulted the Houlton/Greater Houlton Christian Academy varsity girls to a 51-26 victory over Mount View Tuesday evening in a Class B North preliminary playoff.
The No. 5 Shires (10-9 overall) jumped to a 9-4 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back in the win over No. 12 Mount View of Thorndike. With the win, Houlton advances to the quarterfinals, where the team will face No. 4 Washington Academy (11-7 overall) at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center.
In their only meeting during the regular season, Houlton rolled to a 65-25 victory over the Raiders of East Machias.
Mount View struggled with turnovers against the Shires. The Mustangs end their season with a 7-12 overall record.
In Tuesday night’s prelim, Houlton was red-hot from behind the 3-point arc in the first half, draining eight 3-pointers. That game plan was precisely what Houlton coach Clyde Warman said was needed if the team wanted to experience success.
“We shot like we haven’t in a month,” he said. “We are capable of doing just that every single night. I feel we are one of the overall better shooting teams in the Big East in Class B North, and when we are hitting like we did tonight, we can compete with most anybody.”
Senior Drew Warman, the coach’s daughter, led all players with 18 points on the evening, including four from behind the 3-point arc. Junior Gabby Gentle was a close second with 14 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Senior Emma Swallow chipped in six points, while juniors Kaitlyn Kenney and Camille Callnan each had four points, junior Lilly Brewer had three and junior Amelia Callnan added two.
For Mount View, sophomore Arianna Bradeen tallied eight points, while sophomore Savannah Lorenz, junior Isabella Serrano and freshman Emily Richards each had four points.
Houlton exploded in the second quarter, outscoring the Mustangs 26-2 to take a commanding 35-6 lead into the halftime break. Mount View tried to rally in the second half but by then it was too little too late.
The win marked the first playoff victory for coach Warman, who was emotional following the win.
“Honestly, these kids have wanted this [chance to play in Bangor] for so long,” he said. “I think my daughter went as a freshman, but then COVID happened. Making it to Bangor is all this group has talked about and I am incredibly proud.”