ELLSWORTH — Ellsworth’s 1,000-point club has yet another member.
Hunter Curtis notched his 1,000th career point Wednesday night as he scored 18 in Ellsworth’s 79-39 win over Waterville in the Class B North Round of 16. The senior, who entered the game needing 14 points to reach the milestone, did so midway through the first quarter of the Eagles’ playoff opener to join his brother, Jackson, on the wall of 1,000-point scorers.
Chance Mercier got things going first for Ellsworth against No. 17 Waterville (2-18) as he scored four points in less than 30 seconds. Gage Hardy and Curtis soon followed the sophomore’s lead with the latter scoring seven points in a flash to get halfway toward his goal as the Eagles took a 17-2 lead inside three minutes.
Although top-ranked Ellsworth (19-0) would soon revert to the mean somewhat offensively, Curtis continued to score as the first quarter turned to the second. Then, with 4 minutes, 32 seconds left in the half, the senior became Ellsworth’s newest 1,000-point scorer as he made the second of two free throws to put the Eagles up 37-14.
“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to score it on a free throw,” joked Curtis, the ninth Ellsworth boys’ player and the 11th Eagle overall to reach 1,000 points. “I was thinking about missing the second one because I wanted to dunk it or something — do something cool, but 1,000 is 1,000.”
Curtis, who was a sophomore on the team when his brother reached the 1,000 mark two years ago, finished with nine assists for Ellsworth in addition to his 18 points. The Eagles also got a career-high 22 points as well as 10 rebounds from Hardy and 13 points, four rebounds and three assists from Mercier.
Were the 2022 tournament operating under normal pretenses, Ellsworth would have gotten a bye straight to Bangor as the No. 1 seed, meaning Curtis likely would have reached 1,000 on the Cross Center floor. Yet the open tournament provided him with one more game in front of his home fans, and the senior made sure he delivered.
“I didn’t want to wait and get it at the Cross Center; I wanted to get it in front of our home fans,” Curtis said. “I wanted to be in this gym when I did it to put my name up there with Jackson and keep our family name on the wall. I had to score a lot toward the end of the year, but I did all right.”
Elsewhere in Hancock County, the Sumner girls’ team made history Tuesday as it clinched its first-ever Cross Insurance Center berth with a 48-42 win over Central Aroostook in Class C North’s Round of 16. The Tigers last played in Bangor in 2013, the final year the tournament was held in Bangor Auditorium.
Bri Flaherty led the way with 21 points for No. 8 Sumner (11-6), which won for the 11th time in its past 13 games. The Tigers also got 17 points from Rachel Colby and 10 from Mia Richardson in the win over ninth-ranked Central Aroostook (10-9), Class C’s reigning state champ from 2020.
Advancing to Bangor on the girls’ side in Class B North were No. 6 Ellsworth (12-7, defeated No. 11 Washington Academy 65-34) and No. 3 Mount Desert Island (15-4, defeated No. 14 Orono 59-23). Class D North No. 4 Deer Isle-Stonington topped 13th-ranked Easton (1-16) 80-20 to book a place at the Cross Center for the fifth consecutive tournament.
On the boys’ side, Class C North No. 2 George Stevens Academy (15-2) defeated No. 15 Searsport (7-12) 47-31 to advance. No. 10 Bucksport (6-12) and No. 14 MDI lost 68-51 to No. 7 Winslow (13-5) and 49-35 to No. 3 Foxcroft (14-5) in their respective Class B North games, and Class D North No. 11 Deer Isle-Stonington (1-14) fell 70-21 against sixth-ranked Schenck (9-10).
The action from Bangor will begin when the Ellsworth and MDI girls face one another in the Class B North quarterfinals at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18. In Class D North, Deer Isle-Stonington will take on fifth-ranked Schenck (13-6) at 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 21, and Sumner will face Stearns (13-3), C North’s top seed, at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22.
The Ellsworth boys will look to keep their undefeated season alive when they face eighth-ranked Presque Isle (10-8) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, at the Cross Center. GSA will take on 10th-ranked Penobscot Valley (9-8) in the C North quarterfinals at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23.
“That’s a super tough team and a super tough 8 seed, and we’re going to have to play our game and get up and down the floor,” Curtis said of Presque Isle. “We’ll see how these young folks on our team do. They might be a little nervous, but we’ll make sure to ease them into it.”