January 1

HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK: Lawrence shows support for teammate

Benefit dinner will help raise funds for family’s funeral expenses

By Matt DiFilippo mdifilippo@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

Lawrence was hoping to face Bangor in last year’s Eastern A girls basketball tournament. As it turned out, Lawrence lost in the semifinals and Bangor defeated Cony for the regional title.

WEEKLY HONOR ROLL

• Colleen O’Donnell hit the game-winning free throw in overtime and finished with 22 points as Waterville edged Morse.

• Lawrence’s Nia Irving averaged 22 points and 13 rebounds in two wins for the Bulldogs.

• Freshman Sophie Holmes scored 15 points in Messalonskee’s four-point win over Bangor.

• Anna MacKenzie finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds as Nokomis defeated Gardiner.

• Skowhegan’s Morgan Buker led the way with 14 points and 12 rebounds as the Indians defeated Hampden.

Morning Sentinel / Kennebec Journal Top 10

1. McAuley

2. Thornton

3. Edward Little

4. Lawrence

5. Portland

6. Nokomis

7. Gorham

8. Cheverus

9. South Portland

10. Presque Isle

The Bulldogs will get their first shot at Bangor this season on Saturday afternoon in Bangor. But it’s far from the most important event of the day for Lawrence.

The game, originally scheduled for 2 p.m., has been moved to 1 p.m. because there will be a fundraiser for Bri Soucy, Lawrence’s senior forward. Soucy’s father died two years ago, and her mother, Lisa Breault, died Saturday at age 39.

There will be a spaghetti dinner and silent auction from 4 to 7 p.m., Saturday at the Lawrence High School cafeteria. The cost is $6 for adults and $4 for children. Businesses wishing to donate items for the silent auction can call Shelley Rudnicki at 314-6898.

The money raised from the dinner and auction will help fund the family’s funeral expenses. There is also a donation site online at https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/h7q3/in-memory-of-lisa-breault/

“Over the years, (Bri’s) grown stronger and stronger, from everything she’s been through,” Lawrence sophomore Nia Irving said. “She’s just got the biggest heart. She’d do anything for everyone.”

• • •

Nokomis is 7-0 and looks like one of the three best teams in Eastern B along with Presque Isle and Mt. Desert Island. The Warriors won’t face either of those teams during the regular season, but they’re making their case against the teams on their schedule. Nokomis has won every game by at least 15 points, although Gardiner made things interesting in the fourth quarter and Maine Central Institute led the Warriors at halftime.

“We’re getting there,” Nokomis coach Michelle Paradis said. “There’s still a lot of things that we need to work on to get where we want to go. Every game, and every practice, we find something new that we want to work on, (both) individually and as a team. It’s piece by piece, and when we finally get all the pieces of the puzzle together, we might have a good chance at it.”

Even though they came in with the pressure of being one of the favorites in Eastern B, the Warriors are averaging a healthy 59.7 points per game. With Anna MacKenzie, Kelsie and Kylie Richards, Lindsay Whitney, Taylor Shaw and Mikayla Charters, Nokomis has more scoring options than most teams. But Paradis sees a way the offense can be even more effective.

“There’s always been expectations with them,” Paradis said. “It’s getting them to believe in themselves. Our coaching staff is whole-heartedly behind this team. They just need to have that confidence of, ‘I’m going to catch the ball and I’m going to shoot it.’ All of them need to have it. Not just one — all of them.”

• • •

Forest Hills is also 7-0, although it hasn’et played since Dec. 19. Those seven wins for the Tigers are by an average of 35 points, leading to the possible conclusion that Forest Hills hasn’t faced anybody yet. That’s not totally accurate. For example, the Tigers opened the season by beating Vinalhaven in back-to-back games by 28 and 32 points, and Vinalhaven is 4-0 since then.

Forest Hills coach Mike LeBlanc points out the Tigers are shooting well — they’re averaging 64.1 points per game — but are also after a common goal.

“We’re playing together as a team — that’s our biggest strength,” LeBlanc said. “They’re actually buying into it. They don’t care about who scores. I think that comes down from our senior leadership. They’ve seen the other side of it. They know this is their last shot.”

(Continued on page 2)

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