Island playoff showdown: Islesboro runs away from VinalhavenEagles earn coveted trip to Augusta Civic Center to face No. 1 Rangeley
Islesboro — When islands collide, especially with a trip to Augusta on the line, something has to give. And, on Islesboro Tuesday night, Feb. 12 the shift was in favor of the host Eagles.
That is because No. 8 Islesboro (9-10) used a 16-0 run through the entire second quarter and into the third to race away from No. 9 Vinalhaven (5-14) 47-28 in a Western Class D prelim playoff game.
The victory thrusts the Eagles into the regional tournament at the Augusta Civic Center, where Islesboro will battle No. 1 Rangeley (17-1) on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 11:30 a.m. in a quarterfinal playoff contest.
The two island teams split during the regular season, with Vinalhaven winning 48-38 Dec. 22 on Vinalhaven and Islesboro winning 53-46 Feb. 6 on Islesboro.
Rangeley defeated Vinalhaven 51-22 Jan. 25 and 79-30 Jan. 26 in a pair of games at Rangeley, while Islesboro does not play the Lakers during the regular season.
In Tuesday's island prelim playoff game, Vinalhaven led 11-10 after one quarter but Islesboro grabbed a 21-11 halftime edge by shutting out the Vikings in the second quarter. Islesboro also led 34-19 after three quarters.
Islesboro coach Travis Tatro was happy with the win and for his players, which will make their first appearance at the Augusta Civic Center against the top-seeded Lakers next week.
“We have three seniors that have never been,” he said. “I took over two years ago after a two-win season and for them to actually get [to the Augusta Civic Center], I don’t think they thought it was possible.”
“The hustle was there, the work was there, but they made too many unforced errors throwing the ball away,” said Vinalhaven coach Alan Lazaro of the young Vikings. “That’s been kind of our Achilles' heel all season. We get playing good for a couple minutes and we start throwing the ball away. And not boxing out tonight really killed us.”
Tatro said his team's problem this season has typically been taking not care of the ball as well, but the Eagles had only 13 turnovers in the game Tuesday.
"We didn’t shoot particularly well, we didn’t shoot a lot of layups and still ended up with 47 points because we didn’t turn the ball over," Tatro said. "Anything under 15 turnovers for us is a good mark.”
Vinalhaven's Ashley Hamilton drilled a 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer to give the Vikings a short-lived 11-10 cushion. However, from that point until midway through the third stanza, Islesboro used a devastating 16-0 run to grab the momentum and, essentially, the victory.
Leading the host Eagles were Autumn Johnson with 15 points; Krystal Randlett, 11; Elle Snyder, nine; Ally Craig, six; Allana Govoni, four; and Caitlin Small, two.
For Vinalhaven, Hamilton netted 15 points; Ryan Warren, four; Eliza Davidson, three; and Taylor Littlefield and Virginia Wadleigh, both two.
The Vikings made 10-of-20 free throws (50 percent) and the Eagles 2-of-9 (22 percent).
The Eagles and Vikings squared off one week prior to end the regular season and Hamilton scored 28 points for Vinalhaven in that game, but the same shots that were falling for her in that game, simply rattled out more often than not in Tuesday's prelim.
Hamilton was fouled hard early in the third quarter and had to momentarily leave the game due to a gash on her forehead, leaving teammate Ashley Davis-Oakes to come off the bench and shoot Hamilton's free throws.
Hamilton re-entered minutes later and seemed no worse for the wear, scoring 11 second-half points — including a runner with 5:18 left in the third that ended Islesboro's 16-0 run.
“She had the shots, she just couldn’t make them,” said Lazaro. “She gave the same effort she always gives.”
Johnson had no such problem for the Eagles with her seven field goals, many on mind-range jump shots as she helped the hosts pull away.
Now Islesboro must contend with the Lakers, which will be no easy task, particularly in a win-or-go-home situation.
“It just comes down to rebounding against a team like Rangeley because they’ve got three six-foot girls around the hoop,” said Tatro. “We just have to rebound and take care of the ball. If we can do that, we’ve got a chance.”
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