BANGOR—Record are made to be broken. Mackenzie Worcester and the Washburn Beavers broke two at the Cross Center Center on Saturday afternoon.
Worcester scored 37 points to lead the Beavers to a 60-54 victory over the Rangeley Lakers in the Maine Principals’ Association class D girls basketball state championship game.
It is the seventh state title for Washburn, and the fifth straight. They are the first girls basketball team to win five in a row. The Valley boys team won six straight from 1998 through 2003.
“I do not even know if I can correctly describe it. This is an incredible feeling, to be able to work with girls through my whole four years of high school that are willing to put in the extra time,” Worcester said. “Not just practice time, but before school, after school, they are always willing to work hard.”
Senior forward Joan Overman added, “It is an unbelievable feeling, no girls team has ever done this . It is great to be the first, I love my team.”
The 37 points for Worcester broke a record for points in a class D state girls game. The previous record was held by Toni Farrenkopf, who scored 35 in leading John Bapst to a 73-52 win over Vinalhaven in 1981. Worcester also went over the unbelievable 2000 mark for her career. She ends her high school career with 2001 points.
“She (Worcester) has been fantastic all year. As I have said before, I probably will never coach a player quite like her,”Washburn coach Diana Trams said. “I thought she would be a shoe in for a Miss Basketball finalist, but of course I am a little biased because I am her coach. She is the kind of player that could compete at any level, she may be from a class D school, but she is a class A player all the way.”
Overman added, “Kenzie (Worcester had such a great game, I am so proud of her. She has worked so hard, and she deserves everything that she gets.”
The Lakers jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Washburn bounced back by scoring the next six points. The game was tied at nine at the end of the first quarter. The game had four lead changes in the second quarter, before Worcester nailed a three pointer to give the Beavers a lead (19-18) they would not give back. Worcester scored 18 points in the second quarter.
“I think we were a little bit nervous to begin with. They were a lot taller than any of our girls. I think our tallest girl is 5’8”, there tallest was 6’2”. It was a little intimating at first,”Worcester said. “
The Beavers forced 26 turnovers, while committing 10 of their own. Taylor Esty recorded 30 points, 12 rebounds, and two assists for the Lakers.
“We knew that we had to pressure their guards really hard, and not let the ball inside. If could get turnovers in the full court or even up high in the half court, that is what we wanted to do,”Worcester said. “After we realized we can get in there and penetrate, and kick it out for an open shot, we could just stick to our game plan.”
Making history is not something the Beavers talked about much as a team, but with senior leaders like Worcester and Overman that was the ultimate goal from the first practice until the end of today’s game.
“We tried to not put too much emphasis on it, but ultimately the girls knew if they were able to accomplish this, they would be the first girls team in state history,”Trams said. “I thought we came out a little bit tight. They worked through it, and came out with a win.”
Overman added, “We’re a family, we love each other so much.”
Washburn (23-0) built the lead up to 14 points in the fourth quarter. Esty scored nine points in the fourth quarter to keep it close. Natalie Doody scored four points on assists from Worcester to seal the victory for the Beavers.
Overman recorded 10 points, nine steals, four rebounds, and three blocks for the Beavers. Worcester added six rebounds, four assists, and three steals to go along with her record breaking 37 points. Emelia Churchill chipped in with eight points, five rebounds, and two assists.
Seve Deery-DeRaps recorded 14 points, four rebounds, and four assists for the Lakers. Blayke Morin added 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Rangeley finishes their season with a 21-1 record.
Click here for more photos from the high school basketbll tournament