Ellsworth’s Autumn Paul guards Mount Desert Island’s Elizabeth Jones during a high school girls’ basketball game Feb. 8 at Ellsworth High School. The Ellsworth and Sumner girls’ teams continued their seasons with key victories in recent contests. CHRIS POPPER PHOTO/WDEA

Ellsworth girls beat Orono, MDI; Sumner snaps losing streak

ELLSWORTH — A pair of local girls’ basketball teams continued their 2021 seasons by posting major wins in recent contests.

Ellsworth claimed a decisive win over Orono on Thursday before returning to action Monday with a victory over local rival Mount Desert Island. Elsewhere, the Sumner girls’ team prevailed in overtime against Bucksport to claim its first win in nearly two full years.

On Thursday, Ellsworth traveled to Orono and claimed a 61-33 victory over the Red Riots. The Eagles scored an impressive 36 points in the first half before buckling down defensively in the second to secure their second win of the season.

Casey Carter scored a career-high 17 points for Ellsworth in the win. The Eagles also got nine points from Ella Hubbard, eight points from Sierra Andrews, six apiece from Samantha Carter, Morgan Clifford, Jocelyn Jordan and Autumn Paul, two from Kylie Robidoux and one from Samantha Higgins.

On Monday, the Eagles notched their third straight win with a 53-46 triumph over MDI at Ellsworth High School. Ellsworth overcame an early deficit to take a 25-21 lead into halftime and fended off the resilient Trojans in the second half to avenge a 40-39 defeat to MDI earlier this season.

Jordan had 14 points to lead Ellsworth, which also got 12 points from Andrews, 11 from Clifford, 10 from Robidoux, three from Hubbard, two from Samantha Carter and one from Higgins. Emily Carter finished with nine points to lead MDI.

Ellsworth took a 13-point lead into the fourth quarter against MDI after Clifford made a 3-pointer as time expired in the third to put the Eagles up 40-27. Yet after the Trojans scored six points in 30 seconds to begin the final frame, the home team had to refocus itself in order to hold off the visitors and secure a third straight win.

“The thing about MDI is that it is just so hard to put them away,” Ellsworth head coach Andy Pooler said. “They’re so good, and they don’t make mistakes or beat themselves. A 10-point lead against them is like a three-point lead because they can hit those shots to keep them hanging around.”

Ellsworth, as Pooler noted, has been tasked with the difficult assignment of replacing the two-time Big East Conference Player of the Year, Trinity Montigny, in a year with no preseason games and limited practices. Fortunately, with a crop of seven senior contributors and three underclassmen who earned significant playing time a year ago, the Eagles have adapted rather well in the difficult circumstances.

“We had to replace the best player in the conference, and this is a weird year to have to do that,” Pooler said. “It helps that this is a veteran group that’s been around because we can push them right out there and just go play. They’re really seizing the moment and having fun with it.”

In Sullivan, the Sumner girls claimed a 38-36 overtime win in Thursday’s contest against Bucksport. The victory snapped a 21-game losing streak for the Tigers, who won for the first time since Feb. 6, 2019.

The game went to an extra period after Sumner’s Brooklyn Newenham sank two free throws to knot the score at 31 with 10.6 seconds remaining. After Bucksport (1-5) responded to a long jump shot from Lillian Christiansen and free throw from Clara Christiansen with a game-tying 3-pointer, Belinda Catheron converted a layup to put the Tigers up for good and secure a hard-fought victory.

Catheron scored 10 points on the evening and added six rebounds. Sophomore Bri Flaherty added 10 points and two rebounds for a Sumner team that coach Andrea Alley believes will continue to improve as its youth turns into experience in the coming seasons.

“We are an extremely young team with only one senior and seven freshmen,” Alley said. “We have a lot more to work on and improve, but these girls have the drive and want to get better. I’m excited to see where we are in two or three years.”

Sumner, which fell to 1-4 with a 52-15 road loss against MDI on Saturday, will face Bucksport in a rematch at 6 p.m. tomorrow, Feb. 10. The Tigers have upcoming games against George Stevens Academy at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, in Sullivan, and Monday, Feb. 15, in Blue Hill. The team will then face Deer Isle-Stonington at 6 p.m. next Wednesday, Feb. 17, in Deer Isle.

Ellsworth (3-3), which suffered a 41-30 defeat in Tuesday’s road contest against Hermon, is set to host Brewer at 6:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11. The Eagles will then host John Bapst at 12:15 p.m. next Tuesday, Feb. 16, before playing on the road against GSA at 4:30 p.m. next Wednesday.

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]

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