February 18

CENTER COURT: Carrabec dominates boards in win over Waynflete

Senior Macy Welch shook off illness to lead the Cobras with 19 points in a 49-37 win.

By Matt DiFilippo mdifilippo@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Tuesday didn’t start off so hot for Carrabec senior Macy Welch. She woke up at 1 a.m. and got sick. She went back to sleep, woke up at 5 a.m., and got sick again.

click image to enlarge

Staff photo by Andy Molloy Carrabec High School's Mickayla Willette, left, dribbles around Waynflete School's Arianna Giguere during a basketball match up Tuesday in Augusta.

But around 4 p.m., Welch was feeling pretty good. She scored 11 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 19 points and eight rebounds as third-ranked Carrabec defeated No. 6 Waynflete, 49-37, in a Western C girls basketball quarterfinal Tuesday afternoon at the Augusta Civic Center.

“I feel great now,” Welch said after the game.

Carrabec (16-4), which hadn’t reached the quarterfinals since 2009, moves on to face No. 2 Maranacook at 2:30 p.m., Thursday. Waynflete, the defending Class C state champion, ends up at 13-7.

Waynflete is a different team than the one that won that title last winter, but still took advantage of their edge in experience in the first quarter. The Flyers led 5-0 more than six minutes into the first quarter.

But Carrabec sophomore Kate Stevens was the main reason the Flyers couldn’t take full advantage. Stevens had six points and three rebounds in the first quarter, and when the score was 7-6 Waynflete after one, that poor Carrabec start was a memory.

“That was what got it going,” Carrabec coach Skip Rugh said, “and then we just kept building on it. It almost seemed like we had someone in our corner, because any time we made that mistake, they wouldn’t capitalize on it.”

“I think we had a chance to have momentum,” Waynflete coach Brandon Salway said. “It was 5-0, and I felt like we had the better play early. Early starts can really help you — it gets everybody to relax. So I feel like missed an opportunity there early in the game to play from ahead.”

With Welch, Mickayla Willette (eight points, 12 rebounds), and Bailey Atwood (eight points) starting to hit, Carrabec surged to a 24-17 lead by halftime. Six-footer Emma Pluntke was on the bench with foul trouble, but the Cobras were still rebounding (a 44-24 edge for the game) and making free throws. After missing its first four from the line, Carrabec was 15 for 17 the rest of the day.

“I felt like they were going to score on putbacks, foul shots, and drives,” Salway said. “So our goal was no drives, no dives, and limit foul shots, and we didn’t do a great job of that. We reached a little too much early in the game. Rebounding — I think we were checking out sometimes, but they were really active on the boards. That and the free throw shooting was probably the difference.”

Atwood also helped with her defense on Leigh Fernandez, who led Waynflete with 13 points but needed 19 shots to do it. Fernandez, Helen Gray-Bauer, and Juliana Harwood combined for 31 of the Flyers’ 37 points, but with Harwood and Gray-Bauer out the entire second quarter with foul trouble, Fernandez had to carry the load, and Atwood kept her from doing that.

“Bailey was our spark,” Rugh said. “She handled Fernandez awesome, and she is our best defender. She had a great game.”

Carrabec led 28-17 when Welch had to sit down with foul trouble in the third quarter. After the Cobras scored again, Waynflete ended the third quarter on a 9-2 to narrow Carrabec’s lead to 32-26 entering the fourth.

Welch hit some big baskets inside in the fourth quarter off nice feeds from Willette, and the Cobras led by nine before Gray-Bauer sank a three to make it 43-37, Carrabec with 1:42 to go in the game. Over the next minute, the Flyers had four chances on 3-pointers to get within three points, but all four were off the mark.

“We just needed to make one hoop,” Salway said. “I had a timeout ready to go a couple times that it looked like a shot was going to fall. I think we dug ourselves such a hole.”

Atwood made two free throws with 38 seconds left and Welch put the game away with a layup. Things had come full circle from last season, when Carrabec lost to Waynflete in the preliminary round.

“Carrabec learned something from when they played us last year,” Salway said. “He actually commented after the game last year that they learned that that’s how hard you have to play. And I think they played harder than we did at times today.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243 mdifilippo@centralmaine.com Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo
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