WESTBROOK—Bonny Eagle controlled from the outset when they dropped in on Westbrook on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 20, tripling up on the Blazes and then some. Scot Deirdre Sanborn posted the game-high, 13, but teammates Sam Averill and Mackenzie Emery also broke double-digits, the former hashing 12 and the latter 11.
This one goes in Bonny Eagle’s win column by a mile, 70-22.
“I saw them play the other day,” Scots head coach Scott Regan said. “I was worried about the strength they have in the post, because obviously we’re not huge…Mikayla (Van Zandt) is a great player inside. She’s good, strong; she’s going to be on every rebound – and that was one of our goals, to shut down the rebounding.”
“And I was nervous because we had a rough game last night at Sanford,” Regan said. “But our girls stepped up across the board. I think every single one of the 11 we’ve got contributed and did some real nice stuff today.”
“They hit their open shots, and we didn’t – and that’s sometimes the case when you play basketball,” said Westbrook head coach Diana Manduca, new to the Blazes this year.
“I wanted to play tough, and be disciplined, and stick to our game plan,” Manduca said. “We wanted to slow down the pace, because we know they have some fast guards. They can shoot and run the floor and score in transition, so we really wanted to slow that pace down and make them play the half-court game.”
The Scots opened the game on a 14-2 run, Sanborn bucketing four twos and Averill three. But then Westbrook woke up a little: Logan Tibbetts drained a baseline three and Michaela Russell her second two for five consecutive and 14-7.
“We kind of shot ourselves in the foot,” Manduca said. “Too many turnovers. So we didn’t really stick to that gameplan of slowing down on offense, getting those passes. A lot of those turnovers were just right into their hands.”
“They’re a younger club,” Regan said of the opposition. “They’ve had some struggles, and [Manduca’s] a first-year coach, she’s coming in and trying to get things going the right way. I did watch them play a couple of times, and I know they have some ability. It was a question of, ‘What parts of their game are we going to take out?’”
Bonny Eagle performed even better in the second, outpacing the Blazes 23-5. Emery hit three frees and three twos, Sanborn three frees and a lone two and Mia Ferrante two twos to assemble a 19-0 run and 33-7. For Westbrook, Abby Symbol knocked down a three and Van Zandt hit a pair of frees.
Van Zandt hit a two at the start of the third as well, but before long the Scots were on a roll once more; they finished the quarter having extended their advantage by 14 more, 54-15. Finally, Bonny Eagle notched 16 in the fourth, to Westbrook’s seven.
The takeaways for Westbrook weren’t entirely negative, though. At times, the team moved the ball well, and they took quite a few good shots that simply refused to fall, frustratingly bouncing in and out.
“We got some good looks,” Manduca said. “Right now we’re trying to focus on getting one good shot, every time down the court – make or miss, just getting that nice, open look by execution. Defensively, contesting one shot.”
“That’s where we’re coming into some problems, is contesting every time, digging in on defense,” Manduca said. “You’re not going to win many games when you give up 70 points. We work on it every day in practice: one step at a time, locking down on d and having some pride in our defense.”
“We need to put a full 32 minutes together on the court,” Manduca went on. “We’re running into trouble there, too. Bonny Eagle has a deep bench; they can go 10, 12 deep…We’re still working on getting those numbers, and rebuilding those.”
Allexius Theberge contribute nine for the Scots, while Taylor Johnson and Avianna Rath added seven each and Ferrante six. Van Zandt and Tibbetts tallied five apiece for the Blazes.
Manduca took a moment to applaud a number of her subs. “I sat my starters for most of the third quarter,” she said. “And I thought that the swing players came in and did a really nice job. They started moving the ball and getting really nice looks. Those looks didn’t fall down, but they were getting offensive rebounds, they were passing to each other, using some teamwork on the offensive end. It wasn’t stagnant, which was great to see.”
Jodi Sinnett, Jordan Fuller, Arianna Alcide, Sydney Mullett and Libby Cole all checked in off the bench for the Blazes in the third and worked the court admirably.
Some greener Scots also took to the floor at times. “We got some of our starters some desperately needed rest; we got some of our younger kids some more experience,” Regan said. “I can’t complain at all about what happened; we played well.”
“Our posts did a great job inside,” Regan said; “everyone of them that went through did some nice work. Usually we’ve got [Deirdre] and Mia inside, and today, Makala Greene came in and gave us some great minutes, Avianna did some nice things, and Emily Bartash probably ended up with five or six rebounds down the stretch.”
Bonny Eagle, currently ranked Fourth in AA South, jumped to 8-3 on the result. The Scots fell three times early in the season—to No. 1 South Portland (61-41), No. 2 (in the North) Cheverus (47-22) and No. 2 (in the South) MGA (59-40)—but then got hot. The Scots’ve now won eight in a row and are undefeated at home. They hosted Kennebunk (fifth in A South, at 7-5) on Tuesday the 23rd, and host Gorham (fifth in AA South, at 7-5) on Friday the 26th.
Westbrook, meanwhile, dropped to 2-9. The Blazes, ranked 12th in A South, have picked up wins thus far over No. 13 Fryeburg (42-27) and No. 8 Morse (44-24); their next challenge came against first-ranked Greely on Tuesday the 23rd. They drop in on No. 3 Marshwood on Friday the 26th.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME
Westbrooker Mikayla Van Zandt and Scot Lindsay Frazier clash.
Michaela Russell lofts a ball from the key toward the net.
Logan Tibbetts fires off a low-angle shot for the Blazes.
Westbrook’s Jodi Sinnett thwarts Bonny Eagler Makala Greene.