Old Orchard Beach senior guard Elise MacNair showed why she is a finalist for Miss Maine Basketball on Tuesday night.
The smooth and quick Bowdoin College-bound MacNair poured in a game-high 21 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, had three steals and dished out two assists to lead Old Orchard Beach to a Class C championship in its first ever state title game appearance, 35-24 over Dexter at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
MacNair shot 9-for-15 from the floor.
“There was a lot of nervous energy going into it,” said the left handed 5-foot-9 MacNair. “I don’t necessarily think I was nervous about the opponent we were playing, rather, it was about what was at stake.”
McNair, who scored 88 points in three Class C South tournament games to earn the Most Outstanding Player award, added she “came into this game confident, and I couldn’t ask for a better outcome.”
MacNair said the Seagulls felt they had some “obvious mismatches on the floor tonight and we tried to exploit those as much as possible, using our speed and athleticism. That’s what we did. We knew Dexter was a little bit bigger than us.”
Junior Sarah Davis added nine points, four steals and three rebounds for 19-3 Old Orchard Beach.
“Elise knows when to take it, when to shoot it, how to get everyone involved. She does everything,” Davis said.
Junior Cally Gudroe’s seven points, five rebounds and two steals, junior Hannah Dean’s six points and nine rebounds, and sophomore Abby Corson’s six points paced 20-2 Dexter.
The Seagulls did a nice job collapsing on 6-foot-2 Mazie Peach in their 2-3 matchup zone, holding the Class C North Tournament Most Valuable Player to five points, six rebounds and three steals. Dexter had trouble getting the ball to Peach in the low post.
“Summer St. Louis did a really amazing job on her, limiting her touches,” MacNair said. “We really focused on the three-quarter front and back side help and that limited their lobs into Peach.”
The Seagulls also held their own on the boards, being outbounded by just two (21-19).
“We knew we had to box out. They thrive on second-chance points. There was a heavy emphasis on it. We knew we had to get the job done,” MacNair said.
“MacNair is a Miss Basketball finalist for a reason,” said Dexter coach Jody Grant. “She’s as good as anybody we’ve faced this year.“
Grant said his team was “out of sync” offensively.
“We held them to 35 points. I thought we had a chance. We thought holding MacNair to 18 to 20 would be doable depending upon the number of shots but we have to score more than 24 points,” Grant said.
“At times people were open but we hesitated and didn’t find them in time,” Grant added. “We’re a team that needs to function as a group and if things are misfiring, it bogs it down. Our spacing wasn’t great at times. So it was a combination of a lot of different little things that can make running a half-court offense a challenge.”
Old Orchard Beach coach Dean Plante said his guards did a good job pressuring the ball.
“That was our primary thought. Frustrate their guards,” Plante said. “Get them off their spots and make them extend their possessions. Our kids take a lot of pride in what we do, defensively.”
Dexter shot just 26.5 percent from the floor (9-for-34) compared with Old Orchard Beach’s 48.3 percent (14-for-29).
MacNair poured in 15 points in the first half as Old Orchard Beach took a 20-14 lead into the intermission. She shot 7-for-10 from the floor and she also had four rebounds and three steals.
The Seagulls spotted Dexter the game’s first three points before going on an 8-2 run that gave them a lead they would never relinquish.
They were leading 9-7 in the second period when they rattled off nine straight points as MacNair fed a wide open St. Louis under the basket and then made two steals and went the length of the court and converted layups.
Davis capped the surge with a 3-pointer.
The Seagulls broke the game open in the third quarter, outscoring Dexter 10-3 to build the lead to 30-17.
Dexter was held scoreless until Corson hit a three with 1:11 left in the quarter.
Dexter couldn’t get any closer than 11 the rest of the way.