STANDISH—The Bonny Eagle girls – Mackenzie Emery spearheaded the assault with 22 – dealt visiting Marshwood their first loss of the season on Monday afternoon, Jan. 15. The Hawks held a narrow lead at the end of the first, but the Scots turned the tables in the second, grabbing a small advantage themselves and holding on all the way through.
“That’s a great team,” Bonny Eagle head coach Scott Regan said. “They’re 11-0 and, you know, we’re in a dogfight in AA South: You’ve got four teams fighting for spots 2-5. This is a huge get for us.
“I can’t ask for more out of the girls. They could’ve folded a couple of times; things got ugly when ‘Kenzie picked up her fourth foul. [But] we hung in there, we stuck to it. That was a great team win for the girls. I’m really proud.”
“Throughout my game, I knew that I needed to get the shots off,” Emery said, “but I also knew I needed to get my teammates into the game. This team comes together when we all work together; it’s not just one player, it’s all five of us on the court.”
Marshwooder Melissa Montgomery opened the scoring with a two – but Emery soon matched her; Natalie Herbold than drained one-of-two from the line for the Hawks, regaining the upper-hand for them. After that, however, the Scots dashed out front: Sam Averill followed Herbold’s lone free with two frees over own, putting Bonny Eagle on top 4-3, and the team turned a steal on Marshwood’s ensuing possession into a Deirdre Sanborn bucket and 6-3.
Marshwood nipped at the Scots’ heels at 8-7 on an Elora Montgomery two, then outpaced them at 9-8 on further points by Melissa Montgomery. An Alicia Richards three and a long Angelina Bisson two ratcheted the Hawks’ lead to 14-9, but Emery nailed a BE three late in the quarter to pick up some steam for her girls at the buzzer.
“The thing that makes [Marshwood] so tough is: Every one of their kids can step up and score at any point in time,” Regan said. “It’s not like what we’ve done in the past, where we can key on one player. We had to key on everybody out there.
“Early, it was the kids inside, so we wanted to take them away, and that’s when we started to pack it into the zone, hoping that the kids on the outside wouldn’t start shooting – like they did, down the stretch. They hit some big threes down the stretch, but we were willing to take that chance.”
The Scots charged back to begin the second: Sanborn kicked off the stretch with a baseline two, then followed herself up with jumper from inside the paint. Suddenly, the Hawks had frittered away their budget surplus, and the score stood 15-all. Mia Ferrante added a free to put the Scots on top, but a Noelle Barrett two flipped the scoreboard once more: Marshwood, 17-16. BE responded with a long inbounds feed to Averill, who converted for two and also drew the foul; Averill sank her free to complete the play in high style.
“We knew they had strong shooters,” Emery said, “they had strong people down low. We knew we had to body-up down low – but we knew we could physically do it. ‘Box out’ was our main plan for them…Oh, we did that.”
The teams met again at 19-19, thanks to Melissa Montgomery’s continued power underneath. But then the Scots inched ahead – Ferrante began the push, adding a two, and Emery bolstered it, driving for two more – where they would remain for the rest of the outing. A dynamic Taylor Johnson nailed a three and a two in the waning minutes to secure 28-22 for the Scots at the break.
Emery dropped in a three to begin the third; now BE led by nine, 31-22. From there, though, the Hawks took a turn on a run, outstripping the Scots 11-5 over the course of the next few minutes. Still, BE retained the high ground at 36-33, and they continued repelling Marshwood’s every advance as the minutes ticked away.
“[Marshwood] weren’t shooting well for the first half,” Regan said, asked about the Hawks’ run, and how the Scots handled it. “We decided to switch out of our man and go into a little bit of a switching defense, and we kind of started to switch every possession.”
Emery talked about BE’s synergy on the court: “We’re one big team, so when I can get them the ball, I can count on them to finish…That chemistry between us is very strong.”
The sides matched each other in the fourth, 11-for-11. The Hawks, trailing as time wound down, naturally incurred a number of fouls, hoping to force Bonny Eagle turnovers at the line. The strategy didn’t work – but it did mean the majority of the Scots’ scoring in those last eight minutes came on frees. As the team’s lead point guard, Emery carried up-court often, and thus suffered the brunt of the fouling; she ultimately went 7-11 from the line (in the fourth alone). Ferrante, meanwhile, added a pair of twos, capping BE’s W at 49-44.
“We did the little things well,” Regan said. “We boxed out, we got the rebounds and – I don’t know what our free-throw shooting was, but we hit some big free-throws down the end. ‘Kenzie just took control down there, and that was great.”
As mentioned, Emery finished with 22. Sanborn added eight, Ferrante and Averill seven apiece and Johnson five. Regan offer praise for his girls, beginning with Emery:
“If people don’t understand that she’s one of the best point guards in the State,” he said, “they’ve got to watch the film on this one. She took control. She does things in games that kids can’t do, and I’m so glad she’s on my team. She’s a junior that has the guts and wants the ball at the end of the game…She gets the crap beat out of her every single game. And she’s taken the personal accolades and the points and put them aside to get us to go to a better place.”
“We’ve got some players,” Regan said, moving on to his other girls, “that’ve stepped up and done some great things. Today, Taylor Johnson stepped in and did some great things to help us out. Mia, Dierdre, Sammy – we got something out of just about everybody that stepped on the floor. Makala Green gave us some minutes early, she battled, she got split open. And it’s not just the stuff that happens in the games; it’s the stuff that happens every day in practice.”
“I would trade my team for anybody,” Regan said. “I’d put my team up against anybody, any time, any place.”
Bonny Eagle, now 7-3, is ranked third in AA South, behind only undefeated South Portland and undefeated MGA. The Scots fell 61-41 at the Riots in both teams’ season-opener, back on Dec. 8, and 59-40 at MGA a few days after Christmas; they remain, however, unbeaten at home – a point of pride, as Emery made clear:
“This win is – mentally, physically – it’s strong for us,” she said. “We that knew we needed to get this. We knew that, if our home is undefeated, everyone’s going to be scared to come in here. It’s one place you’re not going to want to come into.”
“This group of girls has got a mentality that they don’t want to get beat,” Regan said. “We’re 6-0 at home now; we take great pride in playing in this gym. We set a goal that we wanted to host a playoff game this year. We wanted this to be a place that was going to be tough for anyone to come in.”
Bonny Eagle travels to Sanford on Friday the 19th. The No. 7 Spartans, at 2-8, are struggling this season; on paper, then, the game should go the Scots’ way easily. Fans can catch them at home again on Tuesday the 23rd, when Kennebunk (5-5, fifth in Class A) comes to town.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @CurrentSportsME.
Mackenzie Emery scored 22 for Bonny Eagle in their win over Marshwood.
Dierdre Sanborn splits a pair of Hawks.
Mia Ferrante vies with a couple Marshwood opponents.
Sam Averill rolls a ball toward the rim.