AUGUSTA—Waynflete sophomore Martha Veroneau just can’t help but upstage her siblings.
Less than 24 hours after her older brother Joe produced a vintage tournament performance in helping the Flyers boys’ team advance past Wiscasset in double-overtime and into the semifinals, with injured twin sister Catherine looking on and on the same floor where her older sister Margaret once made memories, Martha Veroneau put on a show for the ages in a Western Class C quarterfinal round tilt versus St. Dom’s Tuesday afternoon at the Augusta Civic Center.
Veroneau sizzled from start to finish and rewrote the record book with a Western C regional record seven 3-pointers as she scored 37 points in all, helping Waynflete make it to the semifinals for the fourth year in a row.
The second-ranked Flyers led the whole way and pulled away in the second half to down No. 7 St. Dom’s, 69-49, improving to 16-3, ending the Saints’ season at 13-7 and advancing to take on No. 3 Livermore Falls (16-3) in the semifinals, Thursday at 2:30 p.m., in Augusta.
“Watching Joe play yesterday, that was really nice to see,” Veroneau said. “That inspired me to play today. During warmups, I missed a lot, but made the last one. In the game, I was shooting pretty well, so I kept taking the shots.”
“I told Martha to eat the same thing Joe did last night, since he had a tremendous game,” added Waynflete coach Brandon Salway. “She was lights-out today. When she had success early, it opened things up. People got their money’s worth from her today.”
Waynflete has quietly put together yet another memorable season. Every year it seems, the Flyers aren’t considered a top contender, but after reaching the regional final each of the past two seasons (dropping a 37-23 decision to Madison a year ago), Waynflete is in optimal position again after going 15-3.
St. Dom’s went 12-6 in the regular season, but had to host North Yarmouth Academy in a prelim last Tuesday (the Saints rolled, 54-32).
Waynflete used to see St. Dom’s regularly, when it was a member of the Western Maine Conference. Each of the past two seasons, the Flyers eliminated the Saints in the quarterfinals, 52-34 in 2009 and 44-40 last winter.
Tuesday, Waynflete made it three in a row.
Veroneau wasn’t expected to have a record-setting game. Her mother, Nancy, matriarch of the eight-child Veroneau clan and a one-time player at Catherine McAuley, said before the contest that she knew Joe would excel Monday night by virtue of his “game face,” but that the jury was out on Martha, since she only had an “iffy-face” earlier Tuesday.
If that’s the case, the rest of the field doesn’t want to see what she’d do after donning a “game-face.”
Although St. Dom’s had some great chances in the early going, Waynflete managed to open the early lead as senior Liz Lewis made two foul shots, senior Lydia Stegemann scored on a leaner and Veroneau sank a pullup jumper for her first points, forcing Saints’ coach Paul Rheaume to call timeout.
It worked as senior standout Allaina Murphy scored on back-to-back driving layups, but Waynflete senior Sam Oakland, after a steal, sank a 3. After Murphy made a foul shot, Veroneau canned her first 3 and it was 12-5. St. Dom’s got back within five on a jumper from junior Mary Caron, but seconds later, Murphy was whistled for her second foul and had to sit.
Wihti 2:18 to go in the eight-minute first period, Veroneau made another 3. Stegemann added a jumper in the lane before senior Sarah Gosselin hit a leaner. A leaner from Jackson gave the Flyers a solid 19-9 advantage at quarter’s end.
Waynflete kept the good times rolling in the second as Veroneau put on a show.
After junior McKenzie Roy made a jumper for St. Dom’s, Veroneau made two free throws. After a Jackson steal, Oakland made a layup to make it 23-11. After Goesselin made a foul shot and Caron sank a jumper, Veroneau buried a 3. Murphy answered with a bank shot, but Veroneau scored on a driving layup for a 28-16 advantage. After junior Allison Conley made a jumper, Veroneau drained yet another 3. Murphy countered with a bank shot, but with 3:02 to go in the half, Veroneau continued to say anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better and hit her last 3 of the half to make it 34-20.
“Usually you can tell early on when she has it going,” Salway said. “She did and it opened things up for everyone else. We thought we’d get open shots. A quick start was huge. The kids could relax and just play.”
If that wasn’t enough, with 2:51 left, Veroneau made a layup after a steal to make it a 16-point game. Murphy answered with a driving layup and converted a three-point play before Stegemann hit a pair of free throws.
With 1:31 to go in the half, Murphy picked up her third foul, but remained on the floor. She scored on a putback 24 seconds later. After Oakland sank a short jumper, two Murphy free throws with 2.3 seconds left pulled the Saints within 40-29 at the break.
In the first 16 minutes, Waynflete turned the ball over just five times, made all six free throw attempts and got 23 points from Veroneau.
The pace remained furious in the third quarter and the Flyers continued to lengthen their lead.
Veroneau got things started with a bank shot. After Caron hit a baseline jumper, Stegemann scored on a leaner, Veroneau made a layup after a steal, Oakland made one free throw and with 5:11 left in the period, Stegemann made two foul shots for a 49-31 advantage.
Murphy made a leaner and Caron made a layup after a steal, but Veroneau answered with a floater. After Murphy scored on a putback, Stegemann converted a leaner and Veroneau tied the record with her sixth 3. A short jumper from Murphy and a Caron layup were answered by two Veroneau foul shots to make it 58-41 Waynflete heading for the fourth.
The big question entering the final stanza was could Veroneau break the 3-point record? It took awhile, but the answer was yes.
After Roy made a foul shot and Conley converted a three-point play for the Conley, Oakland’s short jumper made it 60-45. Stegemann then hit a bank shot and Lewis made a foul shot before senior Meghan Murphy hit a jumper for the Saints. With 1:33 to go, Lewis scored on a putback.
Then, with 1:09 showing, it happened.
After a head-fake, Veroneau got enough room to throw up a shot from behind the arc and it was nothing but net. The Waynflete bench erupted and she got a standing ovation from the appreciative Flyers’ cheering section.
“They told me at the table she needed one more,” Salway said. “I was more concerned with winning the game. I told her she had one more chance.”
A free throw from Lewis and a layup by St. Dom’s freshman Callie Greco accounted for the 69-49 final score.
“We pulled away for a win, that was the most exciting part of the day,” said Veroneau. “That was a quality team out there today. Allaina made us struggle down low. We scouted them last week. We knew she was a major part of their team, but that they had a lot of kids out there and that we had to watch out for them.”
Veroneau, the leading scorer in the Western Maine Conference in the regular season, didn’t just have the 37 points, she also had six rebounds and four steals.
“We have a lot of quick hitters we can run against man or zone that give her shots,” Salway said. “We know we need contributions from other people, but a lot of what we run puts her in a position to shoot. We’ve faced box-and-one now, or some variation of it, six times now. She’s had three people on her and has had to fight through it. People get physical on her.”
She also had plenty of help from a talented and underappreciated supporting cast.
Stegemann had 14 points and three steals, two rebounds and two blocked shots. Oakland added 10 points, three boards and a steal. Lewis had six points, six rebounds and a steal and Jackson finished with two points, 10 rebounds and three steals.
“It’s really a team effort,” said Veroneau. “Everyone stepped up and was on their game. They played their role. Everybody helps with every aspect of our offense.”
“Kids stepped up today,” said Salway. “Rhiannan was tremendous defensively and rebounding. Lydia and Liz had strong games on the inside. Sam contributed defensively. It was a total team effort, but when you get your top kid to put up 37 and break a record, you should win. St. Dom’s wouldn’t go away. I was hoping to put them away earlier.”
The Flyers shot 13 of 20 from the foul line and turned the ball over a respectable 13 times.
For St. Dom’s, Allaina Murphy led the way with a solid 22-point, nine-rebound, two-steal performance before fouling out in the fourth quarter after Oakland induced her into an offensive foul.
“Allaina’s a great player and kept them hanging around,” Salway said. “When Sam took the charge, it ended things for them.”
Caron added 10 points (and three steals), Conley seven points and five boards, Gosselin (four rebounds, a steal and a block) and Roy (four boards) three points apiece and Greco (who also had three rebounds and a block in limited action) and senior Meghan Murphy two points each. The Saints gave the ball away 19 times and made 7 of 10 free throws.
Waynflete will take part in its fourth straight semifinal Thursday at 2:30 p.m., in Augusta against No. 3 Livermore Falls (16-3, after a narrow quarterfinal round win over No. 6 Dirigo). The Flyers have no history with the Andies.
“We have to put this game behind us,” Veroneau said. “Coach said Livermore’s a lot like us. They have good guards and a good post player. It’s a tough matchup, but it should be a good game. The tournament’s wide open this year.”
“Playing here is one thing, winning here is a whole different animal,” Salway added. “I think the toughest game is the first game. Once you win here, the kids ooze confidence. They’ve got that confidence now. We’ll come to play Thursday. Livermore’s a really tough team, but jitters won’t be an issue. I think we match up well. They have quick guards and a couple pretty good inside players. They have quickness and are well-coached. It should be a good game. It’ll come down to kids making shots.”
The Western C Final is Saturday at 7:05 p.m., at the Augusta Civic Center. The Class C Final is in Bangor this year, Saturday, March 5, also at 7:05 p.m.
Waynflete’s Martha Veroneau looks for an opening in the St Dom’s defense during the Flyers’ win.
Samantha Oakland of Waynflete brings the ball upcourt Tuesday. Waynflete returns to action in the semifinals Thursday at 2:30 against Livermore Falls
Waynflete sophomore Rhiannan Jackson looks upcourt for a teammate after stealing the ball.
The Waynflete bench is all smiles after sophomore Martha Veroneau sets the Western Maine Class C regional record with her seventh 3-pointer of the Flyers’ victory over St Dom’s.
Sophomore Martha Veroneau of Waynflete led all scorers with 37 points and set the Western Maine Class C regional game record with seven 3-pointers in the Flyers’ 69-49 Western Class C quarterfinal round victory over St. Dom’s Tuesday.
More photos below.