GUILFORD— Delani Bennett recorded 20 points, 19 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and one block to lead the Piscataquis community high school (PCHS) Pirates to a 68-37 victory over Narraguagus on Tuesday afternoon.
Jordynne Littlefield made two jump shots in the first minute of the game, as the Pirates jumped out to a 9-2 lead early on, and held a 15-7 lead after the first quarter. Littlefield finished with 15 points (13 in the first half), five rebounds, and five assists. Erin Speed also provided an outside threat for PCHS. She scored 10 points (eight in the first half).
“The key for us was at the start of the game, Littlefield came out and hit a couple of jump shots, which stretched it out a little bit, and Erin (Speed) hit a couple early,”PCHS coach Brian Gaw said. “In the second half, we made sure she (Littlefield) touched the ball. She didn’t have to shoot it, but we wanted her to touch it each time, because they had to collapse on her.”
PCHS fell to Narraguagus in the season opener. The Knights built a big lead, thanks to Kelli Kennedy scoring 23 points in the first half. The Pirates made a few adjustments in the second half. They held Kennedy to nine second half points, Narraguagus held on for a 53-44 win.
Those adjustments included freshman Erin Speed spending much of the half guarding Kennedy. The Pirates went with that same game plan, and it worked to perfection. Kennedy was limited to 12 points.
“That was the whole game plan, we mixed it up a little bit in the second half down there. She (Kennedy) torched us in the first half (in the first meeting). We were way behind, it seemed to work, so we made it a game plan,”Gaw said. “Regardless of the three different defenses we played, Erin (Speed) predominately had her, Courtney Deane came in off the bench, she is a scrapper and a fighter, she tried to do the same thing and it worked.”
Bennett added, “We just focused on the freshman Erin Speed shutting her down on defense. That is the only thing we changed.”
Alex Speed is the senior leader for the Pirates. She recorded 15 points, six assists, four rebounds, and two steals. Her freshman sister Erin was the key part of the game plan against the Knights.
“Guarding Kennedy one on one a lot better (was the key), like we did in the second half down there. We stopped her from scoring a lot more and that is definitely what we did today,”Alex Speed said. “She (Erin) did a great job. Her and Courtney (Deane) shut her down.”
Bennett added, “Them (Deane and Erin Speed) stepping up doing that, is what we needed.”
The shooting of Littlefield and Erin Speed opened things up for Bennett to have a monster game. Bennett and Alex Speed each scored 13 second half points. Bennett got five second half assists, on outlets to Speed off defensive rebounds.
“When Delani (Bennett) is getting post ups, rebounding like she was, and hitting the outlets, we can be a tough team to guard,”Gaw said. “We do have things that you like to have. We have a quick guard, a couple of good outside shooters, at times a very very good post player.”
The win is the sixth straight for the Pirates, who started the season 0-2. PCHS currently sits at number one in the Maine Principals’ Association class C heal point standings.
“It was a big game for us, we are new to being at the top of the heal points at this point in the season. We try not and talk about it too much, because heal points are fickle,”Gaw said. “We are a perfect example, we were 10th and 11th and in a week we were in first place. All that stuff takes care of itself. It is cliché, but it is one game at a time.”
The Pirates never trailed, and scored at least 15 points in each quarter. Bennett scored nine points in the third quarter. Alex Speed went 5-6 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. PCHS out-rebounded Narraguagus 44-27.
Freshman Lexi Harris scored four points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Pirates. Freshman Bailey Lemieux made two free throws. Deane and Grace Riitano scored one point each.
PCHS (6-2) will travel to Eastern Maine Community College for a game against Bangor Christian on Saturday.
Kennedy led the Knights in scoring with 12 and rebounds with eight. Caryl Ann Young added nine points, freshman Madison Leighton added four points and six rebounds.
Narraguagus (5-3) is scheduled to travel to Jonesport-Beals on Monday, January 5th.