The top-seeded and undefeated Old Town High School girls basketball team earned a second consecutive berth in the Class B North championship game as the Coyotes cruised to a 61-34 win over fifth seed Houlton/Greater Houlton Christian Academy in their semifinal Wednesday morning at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Old Town, 19-0, will take on 17-3 Ellsworth in Saturday’s 2 p.m. championship game.
Old Town is looking for its first regional title since it won Class A North in 1980.
Hermon beat Old Town in last year’s championship game.
Junior forward Saige Evans had 16 points and 17 rebounds to go with four steals. Gabrielle Cody contributed 16 points, 13 rebounds and two steals. Makayla Emerson had 12 points, three steals and two rebounds. Alexis Degrasse had seven points and Taylor Loring finished with six points, four rebounds and three steals.
Gabby Gentle, Drew Warman and Dani Espenscheid had seven points apiece for Houlton and Emma Swallow had six. Kaitlyn Kenney grabbed eight rebounds for 11-10 Houlton, which lost for just the second time in its last 11 games.
Gentle also had three rebounds and two steals.
The taller Coyotes outrebounded Houlton 38-20.
Old Town jumped out to a 13-2 lead and Houlton couldn’t get any closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Old Town used an 8-3 spurt to close out the half and build a 33-18 lead at the intermission.
Old Town scored the first seven points of the third period to build a 22-point lead but Houlton rattled off an 8-0 run to climb to within 14.
But that’s as close as the Shires would get.
“Our girls played well, defensively,” said Old Town coach Heather Richards. “Offensively, it wasn’t our best game but we always bring our defense, which makes me happy.”
“They are a great defensive team,” said Houlton coach Clyde Warman. “They play off you just enough to bother you so you can’t shoot and you can’t drive.”
Warman said his team needed to get off to a “really good start” and didn’t get that.
“We kind of unfolded as the game went along with turnovers and we couldn’t overcome it,” said the Houlton coach.
Richards said she was also pleased with the rebounding efforts of Evans and Cody.
“They worked really hard today. We knew we had to keep them off the boards and hope they didn’t shoot well from the outside,” Richards said.
“Rebounds are important to us,” Evans said. “We see rebounds as another opportunity, another pass for us so we want to go after them.”
Evans felt the team played “pretty well.”
“There is always room for improvement but I thought we did a lot of things we wanted to do well,” she said.
“We pushed the ball and had movement on offense and we always want to keep our defensive intensity up.”