Waynflete girls get back on track with win over GPCS

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BOX SCORE

Waynflete 64 GPCS 21

GPCS- 4 11 5 1- 21
W- 17 12 25 10- 64

GPCS- C. Jones 7-2-17, Smith 2-0-4

W-  Brooks 6-4-16, L. Giguere 6-2-14, Olney 3-0-8, Pope 4-0-8, Veroneau 2-3-7, Burdick 2-0-4, A. Giguere 1-2-4, Farrar 1-1-3

3-pointers:
GPCS (1) C. Jones 1
W (2) Olney 2

Turnovers:
GPCS- 41
W-10

Free throws
GPCS: 2-6
W: 12-16

PORTLAND—The up and coming Waynflete girls’ basketball team has suffered some frustrating losses this winter, but the Flyers are steadily improving and Saturday afternoon, they put on a show against visiting Greater Portland Christian School, dominating from start to finish.

Waynflete’s defense smothered the Lions throughout, forcing 41 turnovers, and that led to several easy baskets as the Flyers took a 17-4 lead after one quarter and a 29-15 advantage to halftime.

The third period starred Flyers junior Annika Brooks. Brooks, whose playing time was limited due to foul problems in the first half, had a rare double-double in one quarter, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in eight minutes to help Waynflete blow it open and stretch its lead to 54-20.

Even the Flyers reserves made the most of their time in the fourth period and Waynflete went on to a 64-21 victory.

Waynflete got double-doubles from Brooks (16 points, 12 rebounds) and sophomore Lydia Giguere (14 points, 10 steals) as it improved to 3-6 and dropped GPCS to 5-5 in the process.

“We’re not going to shoot lights out, so we have to generate offense from our defense and hopefully get some easy looks at the basket,” said Waynflete first-year coach Mike Jefferds. “We want to be known as a strong defensive team. That’s something the girls have taken a lot of pride in. We work hard every day on defense and it’s starting to come together.”

Improving

Waynflete has been a team in flux this winter with the arrival of Jefferds, who replaced longtime coach Brandon Salway, combined with a very young roster.

The Flyers opened with a 38-34 home win over Sacopee Valley, then lost at Wells (47-28), at home to Freeport (64-34) and at Yarmouth (42-23). After closing the 2015 portion of its schedule with a 49-23 home win over North Yarmouth Academy, Waynflete began 2016 with tough losses at Old Orchard Beach (48-44), at Freeport (43-42) and at home to Fryeburg Academy (47-24).

GPCS started the year by falling at Pine Tree Academy (40-35), then downed visiting Islesboro (45-24) and host Seacoast Christian (42-24). After a 62-22 home loss to Rangeley, the Lions won twice at North Haven (51-37 and 35-29) and prevailed at Islesboro (40-21) before falling at Rangeley (72-29) and at home versus Valley (44-29). 

Last winter, Waynflete beat GPCS twice, 66-28 and 66-29.

Saturday, the Flyers went out and did it again, leading almost the whole way.

The Lions scored first, 35 seconds in, when senior standout Clarissa Jones scored on a putback, but Waynflete tied the score when senior Arianna Giguere hit a jumper in the lane and took the lead for good with 3:59 to play in the first quarter, when sophomore Izzy Burdick made a layup after a steal.

After Burdick fed junior Ali Pope for a layup, senior Anne Veroneau made a layup after a steal and after another steal, Veroneau was fouled and sank one of two foul shots for a 9-2 lead.

GPCS snapped the Flyers’ 9-0 run and a 5 minute, 30 second scoring drought when junior Natalie Smith scored on a putback, but Waynflete got the final eight points of the frame, as Arianna Giguere made two free throws, Veroneau set up Lydia Giguere for a layup, Burdick set up Lydia Giguere for another layup and as time expired, a Veroneau jumper from the wing rattled home to give the hosts a 17-4 lead.

In the first eight minutes, the Lions turned the ball over a whopping 15 times, while Lydia Giguere and Veroneau both had four steals.

Waynflete wasn’t able to deliver the knockout blow in the second period, as Jones kept GPCS in the game.

A jumper from Smith 28 seconds into the new quarter snapped a Flyers’ 8-0 run, but Brooks drove for a left-handed layup and her first points. 

An old-fashioned three-point play (layup, foul, free throw) from Jones, followed by a Jones layup pulled the Lions within eight, 19-11 and with 4:54 still to play in the first half, Brooks was called for her third foul and had to sit until halftime.

Lydia Giguere snapped the GPCS mini-run by making two of three free throws after being fouled while shooting a 3-pointer. After Jones scored on a spinner, Pope put home a miss and Lydia Giguere made a jump shot for a 25-13 lead.

With 2:20 to go before halftime, Jones made a bank shot to cut the deficit to 10, but the visitors wouldn’t score again for a long time.

Waynflete finished the half strong, as Lydia Giguere hit a leaner and was fouled and while she couldn’t convert the three-point play, Pope grabbed the miss and put it home to give the Flyers a 29-15 advantage at halftime.

Ball security was the difference in the first half, as Waynflete forced 23 turnovers, but only gave it away on five occasions. Eleven points from Jones allowed GPCS to stay within hailing distance.

Brooks then put on an absolute clinic in the third quarter and the Flyers ended the competitive phase of the contest.

Just 55 seconds in, Brooks made two free throws. She was fouled again and hit two more free throws with 6:43 left in the frame.

After Burdick took a pass from Lydia Giguere and made a layup, Brooks scored on a putback, then did it again for a 39-15 lead.

After Veroneau sank two free throws, Brooks made a layup after a steal and Lydia Giguere hit a bank shot to push the lead to 30, 45-15.

With 2:43 to go in the third, Jones sank a 3 to snap Waynflete’s 20-0 run and a 7:31 drought, but Flyers sophomore LZ Olney answered with a 3, Lydia Giguere sank a jumper and after Jones scored on a putback, Brooks closed her transcendent quarter in style by hitting a jumper and as time expired, finishing a feed from Lydia Giguere and making a layup for a 54-20 lead.

In just eight minutes, Brooks erupted for 14 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and if that wasn’t enough, she also had four steals and blocked a shot.

“I knew I had three fouls and I just picked up my game,” Brooks said. “I made sure I was strong on defense and did what had to be done.”

“Annika had a string until the Fryeburg game of double-doubles and in that game, she missed it by two rebounds,” Jefferds said. “She’s so consistent and solid. She’s a quiet leader for us. Everything she gets, she earns. She’s gritty, she’s tough and she’s a gamer.”

Jefferds cleared his bench in the fourth quarter and several reserves made a positive impact.

A layup from sophomore Ava Farrar got things started in the final stanza. After Olney added a 3, Pope scored on a putback to make it 61-20.

With 3:25 to go, Jones made a free throw to end the Flyers’ 11-0 run and a 6:05 drought.

That proved to be the Lions’ final point, as Waynflete got a free throw from Farrar and an Olney layup to bring down the curtain on a 64-21 triumph.

“We needed to be the aggressor today,” Brooks said. “It’s a great win.”

“A fast start was very important today,” Lydia Giguere said. “They have a lot of skill. We knew we had to bring our ‘A’ game or it would be very close.”

“This does a ton for our confidence,” Jefferds added. “The final score against Fryeburg didn’t indicate how well we played. We lost to Freeport by one after losing by 30 to them last time. We started the season with a lot of games against quality opponents after all the changes and with our youth, that was a recipe for disaster. The girls have stayed positive and worked hard.”

Waynflete didn’t just light up the scoreboard, it stuffed several other statistical categories as well.

Brooks had a fabulous all-around game with 16 points, 12 rebounds, five steals and two blocked shots.

Lydia Giguere added 14 points, 10 steals, four rebounds and three assists.

Olney had eight points off the bench and Pope (six boards) also had eight points.

Veroneau finished with seven points, four rebounds, four steals and a pair of assists.

Burdick (four steals) and Arianna Giguere (six boards, three steals) both had four points and Farrar added three.

“We’ve been on the other end of (decisive losses), so it’s nice to be able to get some kids in who work really hard in practice every day and let them get on the court and get a taste of varsity basketball,” Jefferds said.

The Flyers made 12 of 16 free throws, finished with a 39-36 rebounding advantage, registered 31 steals and forced 41 turnovers, while only giving the ball away 10 times.

“We’ve really focused on defense,” Lydia Giguere said. “We’re making it our pride and joy. We’re really focusing on that in practice and it’s transferring to games.” 

GPCS was paced by 17 points from Jones, who also had nine rebounds and a game-high five blocked shots. Smith had four points and 11 boards. The Lions made 2 of 6 free throws.

Win streak?

While GPCS (eighth in the Class D South Heal Points standings at press time) hopes to bounce back with a win Thursday when Highview Christian pays a visit, Waynflete (14th in Class C South) hopes to begin a win streak Tuesday when it goes to NYA. A trip to Class A South contender Falmouth follows on Friday.

“It’s important to stay positive and get wins,” Brooks said. “We’re getting better. We have to work on turnovers and our offense.”

“We’ve had some tough games and it’s important for us to stay confident,” Lydia Giguere said. “If we make it to playoffs, we’ll be better off having played a difficult schedule. If we stay confident, the season will end well.”

“Every day we’re getting better and that’s our goal,” Jefferds added. “We want to stay together and keep our spirits up. We have some challenges ahead of us. We want to improve individually and I think we’re doing that. Playoffs are absolutely a goal. We feel like we’ll have to play well down the stretch and get some wins against some very good teams, but if we get in the playoffs, we could be dangerous.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.