Video, link to photo gallery

Searsport girls hoop squad finds court success to its liking

Vikings have more wins early in campaign than in several years
By Ken Waltz | Dec 31, 2012
Photo by: Ken Waltz Vying for the ball are Searsport's Kelli Gibbs, left, and Bangor Christian's Olivia Arnold during a Dec. 28 high school girls basketball game in Searsport. The host Vikings beat the Patriots 61-43.

Searsport — There was a time when wins were difficult to come by for the Searsport District High School girls basketball squad. However, victories, and strong all-around play, have become the norm for the young Vikings in 2012-13.

The Vikings used crisp passing, accurate shooting and sturdy defense to notch another recent win, this time 61-43 over Bangor Christian on Friday night, Dec. 28.

Searsport also lost 63-52 to host Deer Isle-Stonington Dec. 29, however, information from that game was unavailable.

Six games into the new campaign, SDHS is 3-3.

For a team that has struggled to win that many games in a season in recent years — the Vikings have been winless many times in recent campaigns, including going 0-18 two years ago before improving to 2-16 last season — early-season victories are both fun and a confidence-builder for the Searsport student-athletes.

Searsport, led by coach Mel Grant, appear to have a legitimate shot at a playoff berth in Eastern Class C this winter, especially when they get all their players back on the court and gelling.

In the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Eastern Class C, Searsport (3-3, 3.6420 points) is 11th, while Dexter (7-0, 13.6917 points) is first in the 17-team region. The top 11 teams qualify for the playoffs.

The Vikings defeated visiting Bangor Christian Friday, after leading 14-9, 29-17 and 49-27 at the quarter breaks.

Click for photos from this game. Video appears below.

Pacing Searsport were Anna Bucklin with 15 points; Brittany Ward and Alicen Brooks, both 10; Melinda Ogden and Kelli Gibbs, both eight; Allison Walker, six; and Katie McFarlin, four. The Vikings made 9-of-12 free throws (75 percent).

For Bangor Christian, Maggie McDonald tallied 16 points; Gabby Melcher, 12; Sydney Martin, six; Olivia Arnold, five; and Kaylin Pellegrini, Kate Jones and Caitlyn Walling, all two. The visitors made 8-of-18 free throws (44 percent).

In earlier games this season, Searsport defeated Bucksport 58-33 Dec. 21, after leading 19-10 at halftime and 39-20 after three stanzas.

For the Vikings, Gibbs tossed in 17 points; Bucklin, 12; Ogden, eight; Ward, seven; and Walker and Libby Lane, both two. The Vikings made 7-of-14 free throws (50 percent).

B. Bires tallied 10 points to pace the Golden Bucks.

SDHS also lost to Deer Isle-Stonington 43-41 Dec. 17 in a competitive game. The Vikings led 15-8 and 28-22 at the first two breaks, but trailed 35-33 after three quarters. Both teams tallied eight points over the final eight minutes.

For Searsport, Ogden scored 12 points; Brooks, 10; Bucklin, eight; Gibbs, four; McFarlin, three; and Lane and Walker, both two. The team made 8-of-18 foul shots (44 percent).

For the Mariners, Shian Closson scored 11 points, Chelsea Brown eight and Morgan Shepard seven.

Searsport bested Islesboro 53-42 Dec. 13, after trailing 12-6 in the first quarter and leading 27-19 at halftime and 40-28 after three stanzas.

Ogden poured in a career-high 28 points, including 16 in the second quarter and 24 total in the middle two stanzas (she also tossed in three 3 pointers). Bucklin added eight points; Gibbs and Warde, both four; Walker, three; and Brooks, Ali Northrup and Chauntelle Gillo, all two. The Vikings made 9-of-16 foul shots (57 percent).

For Islesboro, Ally Craig tallied 11 points; Krystal Randlett, 10; Elle Snyder, nine; Autumn Johnson, six; Allana Govoni, four; and Caitlin Small, one. The islanders made 12-of-17 foul shots (71 percent).

Additionally, Searsport lost to Stearns of Millinocket 52-44 Dec. 8, after trailing 12-9, 29-21 and 40-37 at the quarter breaks.

For SDHS, Walker netted 10 points; Ogden, nine; Lane and Northrup, both six; Brooks, five; Bucklin, four; Gibbs, two; and Ward, one. The squad made 12-of-17 foul shots (71 percent).

Keying the Minutemen were Tayler Pelkey with 17 points and Alex Mooney with 13.

Courier Publications sports staff can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by email at sports@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Bangor Christian at Searsport girls basketball
Bangor Christian visits Searsport for a girls varsity basketball game against the Vikings on Dec. 28. (Video by: Ken Waltz and Bryan Gess)
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