Guilford, Me— When people talk about class C girls basketball, they talk about teams like Dexter and Orono who both advanced deep in the tourney last year. They talk about Central and Calais who are expected to be powerhouse teams again. They talk about Mattanawcook and Bucksport moving down from class B and being tough to beat. Some may talk about Stearns having the best player in class C. It is about time for the Piscataquis Community High School (PCHS) Pirates to get talked about.
Abby Burdin put in 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Pirates to a 35-25 victory over the Dexter Tigers on Thursday evening. The Pirates improved to 5-0 including heal point worthy victories over Stearns and Dexter.
“We are not going to sneak up on anyone anymore. With wins over Stearns who is a quality team and Dexter now,” Pirates coach Brian Gaw said. “It will be fun to have the target on our back for a change. We will take it.”
Gaw came in with a defensive plan and the players executed that plan perfectly. The Pirates held Dexter to 8-45 (17.8) shooting from the field including 1-19 (5.3) from three point range.
“We gave them the shots that we game planned. They (Dexter) start making those threes it is a totally different game,” Gaw said. “Fortunately for us they were not rolling for them.”
Burdin and Cory Fellows combined for 19 of the Pirates 26 rebounds. They were keys to not allowing the Tigers to develop the inside game and forcing them outside for the majority of the game.
“We worked really hard,” Fellows said. “It all came down to our defense.”
The game was tied at 15 going into halftime. A big reason for that was free throw shooting. The Pirates shot 0-8 from the free throw line in the first half while the Tigers shot 7-10. The Pirates shot 8-12 in the second half including Burdin hitting three out of her first four to give PCHS a lead they would not give back. Dexter only shot 1-10 from the line in the second half
You will not see a player score zero points and have the impact on a game that Alex Speed had She was a big factor in the Pirates outscoring Dexter 7-1 in the fourth quarter.
“She (Speed) is a difference maker on the court. She has instincts that most freshmen don’t have and the speed and quickness to back them up,” Gaw said. “Her speed and quickness you just can’t coach it. I have not had a kid that can make those type of plays in the open court. We have adjusted. We are learning to play with her. She is learning to play with us. It is has been fun.”
Fellows added, “Her head is always in the game. She always knows what to do. She is really a good asset to the team.”
Burdin, Fellows and Speed were not the only players that produced for the Pirates. Gaw used eight players and each produced in their role.
Jesse Bell scored nine points including nailing a key three pointer late in the first half. Lindsey Morrill scored five points including hitting 3-4 from the foul line in the second half. Morrill also had three assists. Sarah Hoak played 12 minutes of solid defense. Abi Riitano put in a first half basket when the PCHS offense was struggling. Kyla Desmarais stepped in for a key minute on the floor.
“I can’t say enough about them. I had one kid (Desmarais) who played maybe 45 seconds,” Gaw said. “That 45 seconds was critical and she had a big smile on her face. Makes it fun to coach those kids.”
The schedule does not get any easier for the Pirates. They face Central, Stearns and Foxcroft Academy next week. Central and Stearns have a combined record of 9-2. Foxcroft has two wins in class B. The games will not be easy but if these Pirates fall it will not be due to lack of confidence.
“It is really big for us. We came in knowing they (Dexter) play tough defense and play hard,” Burdin said. “Really big confidence boost. Knowing we can beat Dexter. No team is unstoppable this year.”
Dexter point guard Jordyn Bell was limited because of foul trouble for the second consecutive game. Bell did not play the entire third quarter of a 51-34 loss to Orono due to foul trouble. Bell only played 21 minutes on Thursday evening.
Lauren Crane led the Tigers with 10 points. Gabrielle Adam chipped in with six points and six rebounds. Dexter (4-2) will next play on Wednesday, January 4th at Foxcroft Academy.
PCHS (5-0) will host Central on Monday, January 2nd.
1 2 3 4 Tot
Dexter 10, 5, 9, 1, 25
PCHS 5, 10, 13, 7, 35
Field Goals- PCHS- 13-41 (31.7) Dexter- 8-45 (17.8)
2 PT FG- PCHS- 12-39 (30.8) Dexter- 7-26 (26.9)
3 PT FG- PCHS- 1-2 (50.0) Dexter- 1-19 (5.3)
Free Throw- PCHS- 8-20 (40.0) Dexter- 8-20 (40.0)
Rebounds- PCHS- 26 (Burdin 10) Dexter- 23 (Adam 6)
Assists- PCHS- 10 (Speed, Morrill 3) Dexter- 2 (Pratt, White 1)
Blocks- PCHS- 0 Dexter- 3 (Melvin, Crane, Bell 1)
Steals- PCHS- 4 (Speed 3) Dexter- 8-(White, Crane 3)