BANGOR— The Houlton Shiretowners used a balanced attack to defeat the Maranacook Black Bears 59-51 in the Maine Principals’ Association class C girls basketball state championship on Saturday evening at the Cross Insurance Center.
Houlton (21-2) had four players finish in double figures as they captured the first girls basketball state title for the Shiretowners since 1991. They do not have any seniors on the roster, and they only have four juniors.
“It was our goal, we have talked about since we were little. In the locker room, coach talked about how we were talking about this since we were in like second grade,”freshman Kolleen Bouchard said. “He (coach) said at the start of the season, we never said it, but we knew we could get this far.”
Junior Natalie Hill added, “It feels great, we have been a great team since third grade. We have had the same core girls, we have been waiting for this all of our lives, this feels so awesome.”
The Shiretowners scored the first five points of the game. Maranacook turned up the pressure to take a 15-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Black Bears forced 11 Shiretowners in the first eight minutes.
Hill took over to lift Houlton to a 25-24 halftime advantage. She had six points in the second quarter. Hill finished with 10 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, and two steals.
“We needed to look to attack the press, instead of being passive. We were timid early, we talked about settling down,”Houlton coach Shawn Graham said. “Early Nat was a little nervous. She is a three year starter for us, she is one that we look to for leadership. I think once she settled in, she was just relentless.”
The Shiretowners have freshman firepower with Bouchard leading the way. They also have another freshman who stepped up. Aspen Flewelling finished with nine points, including eight in the third quarter.
Kolleen Bouchard led the Shiretowners with 18 points, three rebounds, three assists, three steals, and three blocks. The Houlton boys team led by Kolleen’s older brother Kyle Bouchard won the state championship last season.
“It was so evenly balanced, that is how you win games, that is how it is done,”Bouchard said. “It is especially special, because my brother (Kyle Bouchard) got one last year. I felt the pressure for him, I feel it now for myself by playing. It is a great feeling.”
Katie Condon recorded 10 points, eight rebounds, three steals, three blocks, and two assists for the Shiretowners. Rylee Warman added 10 points and two rebounds.
Christine Miller led the Black Bears with a game high 31 points. She also recorded six rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. Catherine Sanborn added 10 points, four rebonds, four steals, and two steals. Maranacook finishes the season with a record of 18-4.