PCHS girls move into fifth place in EM Class C with win over GSA

By Bill Pearson
Staff Writer

    GUILFORD — The Piscataquis Community High School girls basketball team has survived a mid-season slump which saw them lose consecutive games to local rivals Dexter and Central by 23 points each. The Pirates have rebounded with victories over Stearns 62-33 on Jan. 2 and George Stevens Academy, 47-27, on Jan. 4 to vault into fifth place in the Eastern Maine Class C Heal Point standings.


Observer photo/Bill Pearson

    PICK AND ROLL — Piscataquis guard Brooke Morrill defends against a pick-and-roll play as George Stevens guard Megan Nowland drives against her with teammate GSA forward Mary Prescott setting a screen in the Jan. 4 Eastern Maine Class C contest. PCHS won their second consecutive game with a 47-27 victory in Guilford. PCHS is now 5-2 and in fifth place in the Heal Point standings.

    The Pirates used a combination of a strong defense, balanced scoring attack and an effective fast break to defeat the Eagles for the second time this season.

    PCHS earned a 48-42 victory in the season opener in Blue Hill, but the Pirates used a decisive quickness advantage to score the victory.


Observer photo/Bill Pearson

    SPEED DRIVE — Piscataquis guard Alex Speed looks to score two of her 12 points on Jan. 4 in the Pirates’ 47-27 victory over George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill. PCHS coach Brian Gaw believes his mixture of upperclassmen and five freshmen is starting to come together as the Pirates are moving up the Heal Point standings.

    Pirate coach Brian Gaw believes his team’s improvement is due to more cohesive play between his veterans and freshman players.

    The Pirates’ man-to-man defense and rebounding dominance helped the Pirates overcome an early 5-2 deficit to claim their sixth victory.

    “Our fast break was really working well tonight and everything seemed to be going right for us in the first half,” Gaw said. “It looked like we had a speed advantage over GSA in the first half so I told them to run and run and run. Our fast break has been going in fits and starts this season, but tonight we really played well as a unit and were able to run it effectively.”

    PCHS led after one quarter 14-5 and their running game continued to thrive in the second quarter by building a 30-17 halftime lead.

    Pirate guard Jessie Bell led all scorers with 18 points including two 3-pointers.

     Other top Pirate scorers were Alex Speed with 12 points and Mikayla Dow had eight.

    For the Pirates, the two straight 20-plus wins is a strong boost to their team’s confidence. After the lopsided loses to Dexter and Central last month, the Pirates were wondering how good their team could be.


Observer photo/Bill Pearson

    DEFENSIVE PRESSURE — George Stevens Academy defender Megan Nowland tries to steal the ball from Piscataquis guard Kyla Desmarais during the Pirates 47-27 victory on Jan 4. Piscataquis began the season with three victories before losing twice to Eastern Maine Class rivals Dexter and Central. The Pirates have rebounded from those loses to post a 5-2 record with wins over GSA and Stearns last week. The Pirates current two game winning streak has vaulted the team into fifth place in the Eastern Maine Class C Heal Point standings. The Pirates have four games this week including a Jan. 14 date with No. 1 Dexter.

 The Pirates team members  believe as the season progresses they are playing better as a unit and are ready to play against other top teams in the region.

    “The games against Central and Dexter couldn’t have happened at a worst time. Our team was battling with some illnesses,” Gaw said. “We were trying to working the freshman into the lineup and we played some quality teams when we weren’t at our best. No excuses that just what happened, but we’ve started to come together as a team and our looking forward to the rest of the season.”

    Bell believes another reason for the Pirates’ recent round of success is a team building exercise over the winter break which brought the older and younger players closer together.

    “We spent a practice where the upperclassmen teamed up with the freshmen and it really did a lot to get everybody familiar with one another,” Bell said. “It really let the Freshmen know that ‘we” don’t bite and can be nice.”

    The Pirates hope to continue with their improved team chemistry with games this week against Foxcroft Academy on Jan. 8 in Dover-Foxcroft, home games against Penobscot Valley High School on Jan. 10 and Valley on Jan. 12 and a rematch in Dexter with the Tigers on Jan. 14.

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