By Matt PascarellaTuesday, 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.
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.
“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.”
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.” <