Friday, March 1, 2024

WHS boys’ basketball wins regional title, plays Saturday for state championship

By Matt Pascarella

Call them the AA North champions and with just one more win this Saturday, the Windham High School boys’ basketball team will earn the 2023-2024 Maine state title.

Windham High players and coaches show off their regional
championship plaque after defeating Portland High. WHS
now advances to the Maine Class AA championship game
this Saturday and will face Gorham for the state title.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA     
WHS beat Lewiston 57-44 in the regional semifinal on Thursday, Feb. 22 at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, and then captured its first AA North regional championship ever by sending Portland packing 43-34 at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Saturday, Feb. 24. The last time Windham played in a regional championship game was 2018 and this team has now won 18 games, the most in school history.

Windham (18-2) will face off against the AA South Regional Champions Gorham High School (18-3) at 8:45 p.m. Saturday, March 2 at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland with the state championship on the line.

“Our guys stick together no matter what,” said WHS head coach Chad Pulkkinen. “As long as they do that, good things will happen. I’m proud of their fight, they fight every single day. We’ve had guys out of the lineup the last couple weeks and ... guys stepping up on the bench. Our adjustments at halftime, being a little more patient on the offensive end, making sure we’re getting reversals, making sure we’re attacking closeouts. I was proud of the guys for being a little bit more patient and then starting to believe and when you start to believe good things happen. I’m excited to have another week with this special group and that means a lot to me; we’re going to bring all we’ve got to that game.”

According to Pulkkinen, this win in the regional finals was for the school’s alumni. He said he’s proud that his guys were able to get it done and those alumni paved the way for his team to make it to this point. Pulkkinen said he has never seen a team as close this one, and it’s been incredible to be around. They inspire and make him better. He directs the ship, and the team drives.

During the regional semifinals, WHS sophomore Tyrie James had 16 points, senior Blake McPherson had 15 points and junior Creighty Dickson scored 9 points and hauled in 19 rebounds.

“Everyone contributed,” said James after the semifinal. “We didn’t settle for anything, we just kept working and I think that really got us through. “We had an eight-point lead going into the fourth quarter and we didn’t just want to settle and stop, we wanted to keep playing our game. We moved the ball well, our defense was good, help side – all around we played a pretty good game.”

The regional final was a low scoring game for both teams and neither team had 10 points after the first quarter. Windham was aggressive and kept it close in the first half, even though shots weren’t falling. Portland had a 20-13 lead at halftime.

Portland continued to build a lead at the start of the second half, but it wouldn’t last. Windham’s defense held the Bulldogs to seven points in the third quarter and like in the regional semifinal, Windham turned it up a notch in the fourth quarter after senior Quinton Lindsay scored and just one point separated the teams.

Windham defense wasn’t backing down and a block and bucket by McPherson kept the game tight as the clock wound down.

“It feels great,” said McPherson who scored 16 points and was awarded Most Valuable Player Award for the regionals. “We worked for this, and it feels amazing to be in this situation. Third quarter Portland came out and hit us good, but we just needed to talk it through and in the fourth quarter we executed, and it turned out in our favor. We had good ball movement, we took decent shots, we had a lot of uncontested open shots.”

With 1:45 left in play, Windham was up by 6 and a block by Dickson ensured that Portland wasn’t going to make up much ground.

With just 11 seconds left, Windham led by 8 and eventually won by 9 points.

“Portland had a big lead on us,” said senior and captain Erik Bowen. “We stayed together through the whole thing, and we just chipped away. We fought one stop at a time, one bucket at a time, came back and won the game. We tried to stay positive and trusted in ourselves and in each other that we were going to come out here, finish the game and win. We played great defense; everybody dug deep, our offense wasn’t going for us in the first half, and we came out in the second half and really executed our offense. We play for each other every single day. It feels nice to bring the first regional final championship back to Windham. We’re going to prepare as hard as we can and bring home that first gold ball.”

During the regular season, James averaged 11.4 points per game, McPherson averaged 10.8, Junior AJ Moody 10.5, and Dickson 10.4 for the Eagles.

Blake McPherson, Creighty Dickson and Tyrie James all were named to the AA North All-Tournament team. Criteria for making AA North All-Tournament team is based upon statistics. McPherson, Dickson and James were the three top scorers for WHS during the season and so far McPherson has scored 32 points in the tournament, and Dickson 17, with huge rebound games including 19 rebounds in the semifinals. James scored 28 points in the semifinal and regional final combined.

“They have been instrumental in our success and have done a great job making great decisions on the floor,” said coach Chad Pulkkinen. “All three possess different skill sets and that was on display at the tournament.”

Also noteworthy are AA North Award winners, voted on by the coaches and those include:

Blake McPherson - AA North First Team

Quinton Lindsay - AA North First Team

Creighty Dickson - AA North Second Team

AJ Moody - AA North Honorable Mention

Tyrie James - AA North All Rookie Team

Erik Bowen - AA North Defensive Player of the Year

Bowen is an All-Academic McDonald’s All Star; one of 12 selected by the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches and McDonald’s All-Star Voting in the entire state. He also received the Gary Randall Award which goes to one player voted on by 17 Southern Maine Activities Association schools. The award is given to the player that possesses the most character and sportsmanship in the league. <

Windham siblings earn triple championship wins during tournaments

By Matt Pascarella

For Windham siblings Creighty, Cooper and Kelenese Dickson, Saturday, Feb 24 and Sunday, Feb. 25 were big days. WHS Junior Creighty Dickson helped his team secure Windham basketball’s first-ever regional title when they beat Portland 43-34 at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Saturday, Feb. 24. Sixth grader Cooper Dickson helped his team beat Falmouth Force 54-52 in the Maine Hoops Town Team Championships at the Augusta Civic Center on Sunday, Feb. 25. Also in that tournament, fifth grader Kelenese Dickson and her team defeated Oxford Hills, 31-28.

(L to R) Windham junior Creighty Dickson, Windham fifth
grader Kelenese Dickson and Windham sixth grader Cooper
Dickson all celebrated championship wins last weekend 
after their teams won titles. Kelenese started playing
basketball after watching her brothers compete for Windham
teams and now has won another championship for her
family. PHOTOS BY MATT PASCARELLA
and KATIE DICKSON   
“It was so exciting to be at the Cross Insurance Arena,” said Creighty Dickson. “I was excited and nervous as it's been a dream of mine. I love my team, it’s my second family.”

Cooper Dickson’s team had never beaten their rival Falmouth and he said going into the game that he really wanted to. He loves playing with his team; they’ve been playing together for many years, and they keep getting better.

“I was really pumped to play Oxford Hills,” said Kelenese Dickson. “We beat them two times this weekend and before this weekend we had never been able to win against them. I had so much fun with my teammates.”

All three of them began playing basketball at a young age. Creighty Dickson began playing at age 5 with youth teams, Cooper Dickson started at age 4 with Windham Youth Basketball and trained with his big brother. Kelenese started at age 6 after she saw her brothers playing and wanted to join them. They all play Amateur Athletic Union as well as travel basketball and spend a lot of time competing.

“It took us not getting in our heads, not giving up and playing our hardest until the end of the game to win,” said Cooper Dickson. “The win felt good because it was the first time beating them. I was really excited; we move onto Rhode Island this month for a regional tournament.”

According to Kelenese Dickson, it took them to push through and work as a team to win the tournament. She said it felt good for her team to be in first place. She also will play in a regional tournament in Rhode Island this month.

Creighty Dickson was injured in the second half of the regional final game but only stayed out momentarily. He wanted to get back on the court and win.

“He’s a tough kid; he’s a true basketball player,” said Windham varsity coach Chad Pulkkinen. “He lives and breathes it; his energy is contagious with our group. He wasn’t going to just step off the floor, if he can still crawl, he’s getting on that court. He’s a great kid who tries his best for his brothers.”

They’ve all stuck with the game because of their love for it. Kelenese Dickson says she loves basketball because it’s full of enjoyment. She likes being aggressive and always wants to be better than her brothers.

“What makes her an exceptional player is her ability to score at will,” said Windham fifth grade girls’ basketball coach Chris Sargent. “She has great defense and understanding of the game and game situations. She has always been the happiest girl on and off the floor. A born leader, great all-around player.”

Creighty Dickson loves the sport and has set goals for himself and wants to accomplish them.

“I love to compete, and I have so much fun,” said Cooper Dickson. “I did drills with my dad and brother and that’s always inspired me.”

According to Windham sixth grade basketball coach Steven DePaolo II, Cooper Dickson is a team asset when he plays team basketball and keeps his head in the game, and everyone plays for each other. It is how the team has been so successful.

“I feel like their time and commitment is paying off as they practice daily and really work hard to be better,” said mom Katie Dickson. “Creighty is consistent, unselfish and good at everything he does ... he paves the way for the rest of them. Cooper is super competitive, and you see that when he is playing. He plays with big emotions and a big heart but really hates losing which makes him determined. Kelenese is so strong and energetic; as the baby of the family, she often can get drowned out in the noise in our home. She has learned to develop a very loud and passionate presence to make sure everyone knows she is with us.”

For dad Craig Dickson, it’s fun to watch them develop and to love the game like he does. It’s great for him to see their extra effort paying off. They play basketball year-round; it’s a daily part of their lives. They are good students. The best part for their father is their hard work on and off the court. <

Friday, February 23, 2024

WHS savors resurgence in varsity basketball this season

By Matt Pascarella

WHS Varsity Boys

Windham High School’s varsity boys’ basketball closed the regular season with a record of 16-2 and are the top-ranked team in AA North. They face off against fourth-ranked Lewiston Thursday, Feb. 22 at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

The WHS boys’ team is coached by Chad Pulkkinen and is assisted by George McCrillis, junior varsity coach Geoff Grigsby and first team coach Noah Estey.

The varsity team includes freshmen Colin Janvrin and Allegra Kawaya; sophomores Adrian “AJ” Moody and Tyrie James; juniors Joseph Blige, Conor Janvrin, Grant Coppi, Braycen Freese and Creighty Dickson and seniors Blake McPherson, Quinton Lindsay, Erik Bowen, Ryan Smyth, Noah Mains, Beni Ninziza, Matthew Searway, and Paolo Ventura.

“We’re feeling amazing,” said Moody. “Our strengths right now are how tight we are, not getting down so much on each other; some things we need to work on are our help side defense and once we figure that out, we’re locking in and fighting for our spot to get our names on that [championship] banner. All of us are so excited.”

Windham is progressing and guys are ready to go. Pulkkinen said he likes that his team was playing its best basketball by the end of the season. He still doesn’t think they’re there, which means there’s still room for growth. The players have done film study and self-reflection as a team on where they can improve. Their goal is always to be better the next day, at the next practice.

Pulkkinen said the team understands the playoffs are not going to be an easy road; it’s win or go home.

WHS strengths are court connection, ability to understand one another, players know what value they bring to their team, effort has always been top notch.

The team’s weaknesses are little defensive things and improving some of those small details, but being healthy allows for improvement.

The bye week as the top playoff seed gave Windham a chance to get healthy and focus on improvement in time for their first semifinal game.

“Feeling good, confident, said Lindsay. “Ball movement, unselfish [are strengths]; some weaknesses defensively help side and talking are the two major things.”

WHS Varsity Girls

The girls were ranked sixth in AA North and finished the year with a record of 7-12. They fell to third-ranked Bangor in the quarterfinals at Bangor High on Friday, Feb. 16, 35-27.

The girls’ team is coached by Brody Artes, JV coach Gretchen Anderson and Gary Fifield.

The WHS girls’ varsity team includes freshmen Denali Momot, Isabella Vassoler, and Mackenzie Delewski; sophomores Neve Ledbetter, Viktoria Richardson, Addison Caiazzo, Kendra Eubanks, Marley Jarvais, Brianna Duarte and Chloe Delewski; junior Stella Jarvais and senior Mallory Muse.

“The Windham girls' basketball team has had a good season considering a number of obstacles that have stood in our way including injuries and sickness at inopportune times,” said Artes. “What stands out regardless of these obstacles is the hard work and character that the girls have brought [to] each game and practice throughout our season. They are a great group of student-athletes both on and off the court and I am proud of the efforts of this very young team during this season.”

Entering the playoffs, Artes said Windham looked to defend at a high level like they had all year, using its athleticism to neutralize teams. They played really good basketball for the last four weeks of the season and their defense was the driving force behind their late-season surge. Offensively, Artes said they needed a few players to step up and contribute and to make shots.

“We came into the game with nothing to lose. We worked our hardest out there,” said Duarte. “We could have [taken] a few more shots, we worked hard on driving to the hoop more than we usually do.”

Muse thought this was the best defensive game all year. Their momentum on defense led to their success on offense. Communication was great and everyone kept composure and Windham stayed with Bangor all game.

“I think we could have been more aggressive, offensively,” said Marley Jarvais. “Bangor is a very good team and has always been a good competitor so either way it would’ve been a good game in the end.”

She said it was the WHS players’ relationships with each other were positive and that in past years it’s been more separated. The coaches made a big difference too. Jarvais said the team may have not had a record they wanted but they gave each other positive encouragement and motivation to go and work the next practice to get better. <

Swimming team excels in Class A State Swimming and Diving Championships

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham High School’s boys’ and girls’ swim team competed in back-to-back Class A State Swimming and Diving Championships at Bowdoin College in Brunswick against schools from all over the state with the boys’ meet held on Monday, Feb. 19 and the girls’ meet on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Windham junior Lukas Hammond competes
during the Class A Swimming and Diving
State Championships on Monday, Feb. 19
at Bowdoin College in Brunswick.
PHOTO BY
SU-ANNE STIMPSON HANMOND
“The kids swam really well,” said Windham swim coach Peter Small. “Even in some cases where we didn’t see fast times, we saw a lot of personal best times across the board and that’s what you want. The big takeaway for me is even in those races where we didn’t, we saw technical improvement. The beauty of a sport like swimming is we can actually quantify improvement from day one to the end. We were turning over really quickly ... we were riding high in the water; we were grabbing the water better than we ever have; all those things we kind of put an emphasis on we saw come today. I love the way this group bonds, they’re a group that works hard together ... they’ve jelled all year and I love that.”

Boys

Windham finished in 13th place.

Junior Lukas Hammond finished 26th in the 50-yard freestyle with a 26.58 second time.

“To qualify for states was exciting,” said Hammond. “It meant one more race for us to swim. We swam great, the focus was to just go have fun and show everyone what we’d been practicing for weeks. During the 200-free relay we placed two places higher than expected from our preliminary rankings which was amazing.”

The team of senior Joey Somma, junior David Daignault, sophomore Wyatt Washburn and Hammond placed 13th in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:53.48.

In the 400 freestyle relay Somma, freshman Sawyer Stone, Washburn and Hammond finished 11th with a time of 4:34.86 minutes.

Girls


Windham finished 16th with a score of 44.

Junior Sarah Inman came in fifth in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:51.83. She also finished ninth in the 200 freestyle with a 2:12.86 time.

“This is my third year [qualifying for states],” said Inman. “To me it doesn’t matter about qualifying, it just matters how much hard work I put in.”

Inman is satisfied overall with how she did.

“I did what coach Small and Simonson wanted,” said Inman. “They wanted me to start off fast and get faster – see the competition, beat the competition and that’s what I did.”

Junior Morgan Farley finished 13th in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:12.30 and 14th in the 50 freestyle with a time of 28.31.

In the 100 freestyle, senior Grace Theriault finished 18th with a 1:04.30 time.

Sophomore Martina Jefferson finished 18th in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:14.47.

The relay team of senior Riley Small, Jefferson, senior Mackenzie Gaudette and junior Diletta Galloni finished 18th in the 200 relay with a 2:17.04 time.

“I think it went really well,” said Riley Small. “We came together as a team for our last meet, and we all have worked so hard, we all deserved to be here. Our sportsmanship was good, we had a number of new best times and I think everyone’s mindset has improved throughout the season. We all had confidence in ourselves, and it showed in the pool.” <

Friday, February 16, 2024

Windham Unified basketball earns win over South Portland through teamwork

By Matt Pascarella

In just their second home game of the season Windham’s Unified basketball team of Colby Schmid, Jack Shirley, Dani Iaconeta, Jacob Smith, Zachary O’Brion, Davic Ntibandetse and Mary Jean stayed ahead of the Red Riots late in the game on Friday, Feb. 9 to pull out a 58-51 victory, which they achieved through passing and a combined effort with every member of the team scoring at least once.

Windham sophomore Zachary O'Brion gets some air as he
drives for a layup during a Unified basketball game against
South Portland at home on Friday, Feb. 9.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
“We were very aggressive,” said Windham unified basketball head coach Anne Blake. “They kept their energy up and they really worked hard on getting those rebounds – that’s what we’ve been trying to teach them in practice, and they finally put it together. The other thing we’ve been working hard on in practice is stopping, aiming, then shooting. They put it all together today. Passing the ball [still needs work] especially on breakaways.”

Windham grabbed rebounds right from the start of the game. Schmid and O’Brion then both hit three-pointers. The game was quickly tied, but Windham’s passing allowed them to get out in front of South Portland.

Soon, Windham began to build a decent lead over the Red Riots. The crowd went wild, and the gym roared with excitement every time one of the Unified players scored.

The Eagles’ defense was spot on with a block that prevented a scoring opportunity for a South Portland opponent.

Despite Windham’s big lead, South Portland held firm and was not far behind. Windham led 36-28 at the half. Halftime featured a dance break, which many got into.

“It went really good,” said Windham senior Dani Iaconeta. “We hustled out there and tried to get the ball. I can’t believe we won [the] ... game – that was my birthday wish. We tried to get open and my teammates did really good; we did awesome. We need to try to get more rebounds.”

The game had tightened up in the second half and eventually a mere four points separated the two teams.

The game was tied, 48-48, but Windham players snagged some rebounds and pulled away just enough, while its defense held off South Portland. Shirley tossed in a sweet buzzer beater to increase the lead in the final seconds.

“I thought it was fun and my best friend [Shirley] was in the game with me,” said Windham senior Jacob Smith. “What went well was that we played better as a team this game than we have in the other games; we passed a lot more. Listening to what our coaches tell us [needs work].” <

Windham’s indoor track and field teams perform well in regional competition

By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s indoor track and field boys’ and girls’ teams turned in stellar showings while competing at the regional competition against schools from all over Southern Maine on Saturday, Feb. 10 at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. Windham’s girls finished second with a score of 121 while the Windham boys’ team finished eighth with a score of 69.

Windham sophomore Nick Verrill clears 5-10.00 feet in the
high jump during the indoor track and field regional
competition at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham
on Saturday, Feb. 10. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
Girls

“The opportunity at the ... Indoor track and field Championships validated the detailed work that the Lady Eagles team had put in all season,” said Windham girls’ coach Jeff Riddle. “What the team needed to do to contend for a top team finish was for each relay team to surprise the field and make the podium, no matter if they were entered into slower heats or the fast ones; and each relay team did just that and more. These relay results were well beyond what we forecasted so are the perfect example of how the ladies have fully elevated their mindset and our program. All five relay teams were able to [make the] podium. Beyond that, each player's individual contributions in their events led us to our second-place overall result, a first time for our program.”

Sophomore and state qualifier Nealie Morey came in second in the 55-meter hurdles with a finals time of 9.50 seconds. Originally, Morey hadn’t qualified for this event, but was able to get in.

“When you have a certain amount of people that can go in the event and they don’t fill it, they [take] people who were close,” said Morey. “I just went in there and was trying to go as fast as I could. It feels good to support my team in ways that I didn’t think I was going to and contribute those points.”

Morey finished first in the triple jump with a 32-02.25 foot distance.

Also in the triple jump was sophomore Myla Vercoe, another state qualifier, finished fifth with a distance of 31-02.25.

In the 55-meter dash senior and state qualifier, Khalysa Hammith finished second in the finals with a time of 7.55. She also finished second in the long jump with a 15-07.00 distance.

Junior Ava Gerrity finished first in the long jump with a distance of 16-02.75 and was second in the triple jump with a 34-02.75 distance.

Senior Beth Bearce finished fourth in the 600 with a 1:36.08 time.

Both Bearce and Gerrity are state qualifiers.

Sophomore Addison Shanholtz got a personal record in the pole vault with a height of 7-00.00 feet.

“I was thinking I want to try and do my best, but no matter what I did,” said Shanholtz. “I was working my hardest to have fun and enjoy it while I can. I’ve worked really hard ... jumping [with] a different pole was helpful.”

According to Shanholtz, everyone has worked hard to benefit the team.

Boys

In the 55-dash, sophomore and state qualifier Karl Longstreth finished second with a time of 6.75, a new school record. He also finished second in the 200 with a 23.92 time.

In the 55-hurdles, sophomore Mason Arbour finished fourth with a time of 8.48. He finished first in the triple jump with a 39-11.00 distance and qualified for the state competition.

“I like being around this team,” said Arbour. “Overall, our team did really good, and everything just clicked. I think everybody is looking good for states.”

In the high jump, sophomore and state qualifier Nick Verrill finished first with a height of 5-10.00.

“I think the warmups were pretty good,” said Verrill. “We’ve been training really hard ... for this and states. I think the whole team is doing pretty good. We just have to keep the form and practice.”

Senior Marcus Tillery finished sixth in both the 55-dash with a time of 6.71 and the 200-dash with a time of 23.89, along with qualifying for the state competition.

In the 55-hurdles, junior and state qualifier Carter Engelman finished eighth with an 8.36 time. He came in third in pole vault with a height of 12-00.00.

Senior Jinqi Li finished eighth in the pole vault with a height of 9-06.00.

In the 1-mile open run, junior Andrew Young finished with a time of 5:01.49 in 12th place.

“I'm really proud of these boys,” said Windham boys’ coach Paula Pock. “They all work exceptionally well together and are constantly focused on improving. Overall, the boys had a great day with almost every athlete meeting their seed or getting a personal best. Next week, the team will be competing in states, and we hope to continue setting personal bests through pushing each other to improve.” <

Friday, February 9, 2024

Windham varsity basketball squads post victories against Edward Little

By Matt Pascarella

Tuesday, Feb. 6 was Senior Night for Windham’s varsity boys’ and girls’ basketball teams and it turned out to be a night to remember for players and fans. The girls fought hard and won 34-27, while the boys also battled in a tight game and held off Edward Little, 60-56.

Windham seniors Noah Mains (top left, Matt Searway,
Blake McPherson, Quinton Lindsay, Beni Ninziza
(middle left), Mallory Muse, Erik Bowen and Ryan
Smyth (bottom middle) gather before their final 
home varsity basketball games against Edward Little
on Tuesday, Feb. 6. PHOTO BY SIERRA SPARROW
Seniors Blake McPherson, Quinton Lindsay, Eric Bowen, Beni Ninziza, Matthew Searway, Noah Mains, Ryan Smyth, Paolo Ventura and Mallory Muse were each presented with a small gift as a thank you for their dedication to Windham Athletics throughout high school.

Bowen and Muse received the Windham Youth Basketball Little Eyes Upon You Awards presented by Maine Optometry. This honor goes to a senior that demonstrates commitment to the youth in their community. Both Bowen and Muse said it felt really good to know they are looked up to and are making a difference.

Boys

“We knew it was going to be tough tonight,” said varsity boys’ basketball coach Chad Pulkkinen. “Our mindset was to recognize the seniors and make it about them tonight, play our absolute tails off and not worry about their record, just worry about playing our best basketball. Some things we need to improve on are just simple things defensively, some things that can help make those possessions a little harder for the other team. We talked about it a little bit and what they’ve been able to create as a group; and what they’ve been able to build for community involvement ... hats off to our guys to be able to battle night-in and night-out.”

The boys made Windham High School history when they earned their 15th win of the season over Oxford Hills on Friday, Feb. 2. They are undefeated at home with Tuesday’s game being their 16th victory of this season.

Edward Little jumped to an early lead, but Windham defense kept their score low and Windham offense hit some three-pointers in the first quarter. Soon the game was tied at 21. Edward Little pulled away 31-27 at the half.

Searway hit three three-pointers in the second half and the game remained close. Windham eventually pulled out in front to put some distance between the teams.

“The whole team works hard and works together as a team,” said Searway. “Every night we have a person that steps up. I was lucky enough to have open shots and I was lucky enough to hit them tonight. The community that is here for us is amazing and we can feel that energy. We want to cherish every moment; we went out and executed. We moved the ball well, defensively, we ... ran the floor pretty well, got a lot of transition points ... the way we can control the pace of the game is how we can win some of these; tonight was definitely electric.

According to Quinton Lindsay, Windham players knew this game was going to be a dog fight and they wanted to get everyone in the game because they are a family. Mentally Windham had to lock in on defense, get their shooters rattled and rebound. They need to talk more on defense.

Four points separated the teams with 1:18 left but Windham persevered to earn the “W.”

Girls

Windham defense kept Edward Little to a small number of points in the first half, but Windham struggled to have their shots fall. Edward Little led 11-7 midway through the game.

“I thought we played really good defense in the half court,” said Windham varsity girls’ basketball coach Brody Artes. “Holding a team to 11 points in a half is great; just a matter of us getting going a little quicker on offense ... missed some free-throws in the first half. We were a little slow to get going. I think we let their pressure get to us a little bit. At halftime we adjusted and ... came out with more of an assertion to score. I think it was a good second half for us; I think there were some nerves there for sure; we got over it.”

In the second half, more Windham shots fell. They rebounded and soon had the lead. Their defense kept Edward Little to five points in the third quarter.

Windham really turned up the heat in the fourth quarter and pulled away from the Eddies significantly. Muse hit a three-pointer before the final buzzer.

“Our defense was pretty solid,” said Muse. Throughout the game we picked up off each other’s energy. We had really good looks at the basket. I think we just need to play our hardest; whenever ... we play our hardest, we play our best.” <