Alumni continue reign in Wiscasset Thanksgiving tradition

Sun, 12/01/2019 - 1:30pm

The Wolverines played hard but the stars of yesteryear shined brightest at Saturday night’s annual alumni basketball games at Wiscasset Middle High School. The alumni won both games surviving a scare in the first game.

The games have been a Thanksgiving tradition at the high school for over 40 years, bringing together recent and not so recent graduates. A good crowd of Wolverine fans turned out in Stover gymnasium to get their first look at this year’s girls’ and boys’ varsity teams coached by Tom Philbrick and Jamie Jones, respectively.

Philbrick’s starting five was anchored by senior Kateleen Trask and wow, what a game she had canning four, three-point baskets in the first eight minutes. She added 11 more points in the second half, finishing with 23. Junior Zoe Waltz netted seven points including a trifecta in the first period. Two of her biggest baskets were from the foul line in the closing minutes. After blocking a shot, she carried the ball the length of the court, drew a foul and hit both free throws. That briefly put the Wolverines ahead 45-44 with three minutes left to play.

Lindsey Gordon class of ’18 then drove to the basket and scored, tying the game at 45 with 2:51 to go. Brianna Goud ’14 then sunk the game winner for the alumni, a trifecta that put them ahead for good 48-45. In the closing minute, Bella Orr, a seventh grader who played for the alumni, scored the game’s final basket. Unfortunately, a lack of communication resulted in only four alumni players showing up to take part in the game. Two Wolverine varsity players, Latisha Wright and Natalie Potter, also played for the alumni.

Wright had a solid floor game, picking up a pair of steals and three assists. Brianna Orr, Bella’s sister, started for the varsity and played point guard most of the game. She hit a huge three-point basket just before the buzzer sounded ending the third period.

Philbrick’s Wolverines led 21-8 after the first quarter, 25-22 at the half and 40-33 headed into the final eight minutes of play. Kylie Peoples had a blocked shot and a steal and netted six points for the varsity.

The alumni rallied and outscored the varsity 12-10 in the final eight minutes. Goud led the alumni with five points in the first quarter, a three-pointer in the second and six points in the pivotal final period. She also pulled down about a dozen rebounds.

In the early going, Gordon had the hot hand for the alumni, scoring six points in the first quarter. Grace Webber ’18 was a big factor under the backboards and down the closing stretch, netting six points in the final eight minutes of play. Ari Mills ’18 made some nice passes and picked up several assists in both halves.

The game’s first basket was scored by Wolverine Emily Richardson. The swisher off the opening tip-off came from a nifty pass by Trask.

Defense does it for alumni men

The Wolverine boys team was no match for the a bigger and more physical men’s alumni team. After the alumni outscored the Wolverines 34-6 in the first half, the scoreboard was reset to zero. In the second half, the alumni outscored the varsity 41-16.

Senior Billy Pinkham and juniors Brett Osmond were the only Wolverines to score in the first half. Each had a three-pointer. Pinkham netted three trifectas in the second half.

Pinkham’s first three, a rainbow from behind the key, briefly put the varsity in the lead 3-2. The alumni then went on a roll. Grant Hefler ’17 banked in a basket from underneath, opening up a 19-6 alumni lead just before the first period ended. Late in the first half, Ethan James ’17 had a pair of assists to Zack Reed ’17. James then swished a three-pointer from the left corner only to have the basket nullified by the referee because James’ foot was out of bounds when he took the shot. James, one of WMHS’s all-time leading scorers and rebounders, could have probably sunk the basket from the parking lot.

The Wolverines allowed 15 unanswered points in the second period. Reed finished with nine first half points, Matt Craig ’17 six, and James five. The second half opened with Osmond dishing off to Matt Eckert for a quick basket down the middle, something the varsity needed a lot more. The alumni then went on a roll again and were up 15-5 when the period ended. They outscored the Wolverines 26-11 in the final period.

The varsity was without two of the team’s best rebounders, senior Noah Haggett and junior Marshall Weeks, both sidelined with injuries.

Thirteen graduates returned to play for the alumni game including six members of the class of 2017: Conlon Ranta, James, Russell Marr, Tiger Colby, Hefler and Brandon Goud and Logan Orr. Other alumni returnees were Bryson Grover ’16, Craig ’15 and Reed ’18. Representing the class of 2019 were Matt Chapman, Chris Loyola and Josh Gabriele.

On the previous night, the Wolverine boys’ and girls’ teams traveled to Waterville playing scrimmage games against Temple Christian Academy. Coaches Philbrick and Jones said their teams played well and continue to improve. Weather permitting, they have one more scrimmage game at Valley High School in Bingham on Dec. 3. Snow is predicted.

The boys are set to open the Mountain Valley Conference season at Boothbay Region High School on Saturday night, Dec. 7, then host Mt. Abram Dec. 12, the girls’ season opener. The girls play first, at 5 p.m. No jayvee games are scheduled.