Southern Aroostook High School girls basketball coach Cliff Urquhart expected more of a test from Seacoast Christian School in Monday’s state Class D schoolgirl basketball championship game.
Southern Aroostook rattled off an unprecedented 43 unanswered points en route to a 58-18 victory over the Guardians a year ago.
It was more competitive but the Warriors from Dyer Brook made it four state championships in five seasons with a 30-0 first-half run en route to a comfortable 68-30 victory over South Berwick-based Seacoast Christian at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on Monday night.
Southern Aroostook finished with a 19-3 record while Seacoast Christian, which had only six healthy players, ended up at 12-10.
Seacoast Christian received a game-opening basket from Ellie Odess and was within 11-9 midway through the first period when Southern Aroostook came out of a timeout called by Urquhart and reeled off 30 unanswered points to put the game away.
Urquhart said he thought his team was “too amped up,” which is why he called the timeout.
“I told them ‘Hey, we’ve been here before. Let’s settle in and start running our stuff. Let’s be under control. Sometimes you try to do too much and we might have tried to do too much,” Urquhart said.
Southern Aroostook led 43-13 at the half.
Southern Aroostook shot 20-for-44 from the floor in the first half and held Seacoast Chrstian to a 6-for-25 showing while also forcing 16 turnovers with its full-court press.
Senior guard and two-time Class D North tournament Most Valuable Player Maddie Russell poured in 19 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and had six steals and three assists for the winners. Junior guard Cami Shields had 15 points, five rebounds and three steals along with three assists. Freshman Ally Shields, Cami’s sister, had 11 points. Callie Russell, Maddie’s cousin, had four points and 10 rebounds.
Russell had 15 of her points in the first half and Cami Shields had 13.
Senior captain Breckyn Winship scored 16 points for Seacoast Chrstian and also pulled down 10 rebounds. Junior guard and Class D South tourney MVP Ellie Leech had 10 points, 14 rebounds and four assists. Bri Cluff grabbed eight rebounds and Odess had five rebounds and three steals to go with a basket.
“We didn’t want to come into this game looking at last year’s game,” said Cami Shields. “Coach told us over and over this is a whole new year. So we just came out with intensity and worked really hard on defense and did all the little things we needed to do like, diving for balls and playing the game that we know.”
The junior added that the team created a lot of turnovers, and used that to generate offense.
Despite being overmatched, the Guardians never quit and played hard until the final whistle.
“They never stopped working. Give them credit,” Shields said.
“We knew it was going to be a different game than last year, obviously, and it was,” Russell said. “They stuck with us for a little bit and gave us a run for our money. We had a timeout and came out and our shots started falling and we just ran our stuff.”
Seacoast Christian coach Lee Petrie said he is proud of his team.
“We aren’t going to apologize for winning the Southern Maine championship,” Petrie said. “We came up and gave them the best game we could give them.”
He congratulated Urquhart and his program.
“They have two 1,000-point scorers. I don’t think we scored 1,000 points all year,” Petrie said with a grin, referring to Russell and Cami Shields.
“We came up with our six and battled like crazy. This group is something special,” Petrie added.
Winship said Southern Aroostook “got in our minds” during the 30-0 run.
“We stopped playing our game and started playing theirs, which really was our downfall,” Winship added. “We played into their press, we played into their defense and we didn’t run our stuff.”
Urquhart praised Petrie and his team.
“Lee Petrie did a great job with that team. To get here with only six kids is a testament to his coaching and the fact those kids were willing to buy in,” Urquhart said.