High school girls basketall

Family affair: Searsport cannot keep pace with streaking Narraguagus

Cousins square off as Knights win 18th straight with strong performance against visiting Vikings
By Mark Haskell | Feb 13, 2019
Photo by: Mark Haskell Searsport players stand for the national anthem on Feb. 12 before a game with host Narraguagus in Harrington. The Knights beat the Vikings 60-37 in a Class C North prelim playoff game.

Harrington — Nearly every time the Searsport girls basketball team took the floor this season, it was one of the Alley sisters — sometimes Mikaela, sometimes Makenzie — who would lead the offensive charge for the Vikings, if not all players in the contest.

An Alley again led the charge in the Class C North prelim playoff game between No. 12 Searsport and No. 5 Narraguagus of Harrington on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

Though, it was not for Searsport. It was 5-foot 6-inch junior Kaci Alley for Narraguagus who led the night — for the Knights — as the hosts earned their 18th straight victory with a 60-37 win over the Vikings.

Watch video and see more photos below.

Kaci Alley, who is a cousin to Mikaela and Makenzie Alley, poured in a game-high 22 points in the victory for Narraguagus.

With the win, the Knights (18-1), which lost their first game of the regular season to Machias, advance to the quarterfinals, where they will play No. 4 Penobscot Valley of Howland (15-4) on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 2:05 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

Searsport’s campaign wrapped at 11-8.

“I knew coming in what it was going to come down to,” said Searsport coach Mel Grant. “We played them in the preseason. I wasn’t there [for that game], but we didn’t play well. And I knew they were a quick team, they like to move the ball and they’re good shooters. They’re just aggressive. They’re tough.”

The Knights jumped to a significant first-quarter lead and led 22-10 after the first eight minutes and continued to extend that lead throughout the game, the the hosts netted a 31-17 halftime edge and 50-28 advantage after three quarters.

Mikaela Alley led the Searsport with 19 points, while Ashten Wells added 10; Makenzie Alley, eight; and Abby Astbury, six.

Kaci Alley’s 22-point effort for Narraguagus was assisted by Anna Strout with 12; Kylee Joyce, 10; Lanie Perry, six; Emma Reidmarker and Kirstin Kennedy, four; and Madison Pray, two.

The Vikings were 8-of-17 (47 percent) from the foul line, while the Knights were 7-of-11 (63 percent).

Perry netted a trey to start things for the Knights, while Mikaela Alley responded with a close-range bucket for the Vikings.

From there, the Knights rattled off 17 straight points — several of which were off forced turnovers — as they assumed control of the game despite a pair of timeouts called by Searsport in an attempt to stop the Narraguagus momentum.

Mikaela Alley said the Vikings “went in as underdogs and unfortunately we couldn’t pull out the win.”

“We had a lot of turnovers,” she said. “We’re not used to pressure [defense] like that, and I think that’s what got us. Once a team starts to hit like that, it’s hard to get them out of that intensity. It’s hard to compete with a team that’s having such a good offensive run like that.”

Grant said his team did not do a bad job breaking the Narraguagus press, but were more rattled by the Knights “in-your-face defense.”

“We don’t see that a lot,” said Grant. “And when we do, we take a step back and we really don’t play as well. So it wasn’t the pressure, we knew going in how good they were. But we also knew we weren’t scared of them. We just dug ourselves a big hole.”

Kaci Alley converted an offensive putback followed by a quick Joyce layup off a turnover to make the score 7-2 — which forced the first Viking timeout — while Kennedy hit a long jumper from the wing and scored again moments later off a steal from Joyce, to make the score 11-2 and prompted the second SDHS timeout with 4:25 left in the first.

Strout canned a trey out of the timeout to put the Knights up 14-2, while Kaci Alley added a foul shot, Pray a long baseline jumper and a streaking layup from Kaci Alley off a nearly fullcourt pass by Strout made the score 19-2.

Searsport scored the next six points and went on a 7-3 run to end the stanza — all of which were scored by the Alley sisters — but the damage already had been done.

Narraguagus committed its seventh foul mere moments into the second quarter, but the Vikings could not make the Knights pay at the foul line, as the visitors hit only 3-of-7 attempts (43 percent) in the stanza.

The Knights continued to add to their lead in the second half as the Vikings got no closer than 14 points the rest of the way.

Kaci Alley, who like her cousins, often leads her team in scoring, said, “We have a number of girls that can score, which makes us a tough team to defend.”

She added that the Knights knew “Searsport was playing a lot better [and] we spent a lot of time preparing for different scenarios in practice” leading up to Tuesday’s game.

“We planned to mainly focus defensively on Mikaela and Makenzie,” she said. “During the game we found ourselves in a lot of the same situations we had covered in practice. I think that made us more confident as the game went on. The more confident we got, the more we relaxed and just played our game.”

Kaci Alley said said she and her cousins “played in a few travel team tournaments together with our fathers coaching us.”

“We always had a lot of fun and played really well together,” she said. “It was a special opportunity to play against each other, but I wish we could have been playing together again.”

Grant said his three seniors, Mikaela Alley, Wells and Morgan Ireland “have been tremendous role models.”

Wells “is the rough-and-tough-kind of girl” on the team, while Ireland came back from two different anterior cruciate ligament surgeries in the last two years and has been the team’s “heart and soul” and Mikaela Alley “just never quits.”

“She’s been carrying us for two years,” said Grant of Mikaela Alley. “She’s just all guts and she just won’t let this team stop for nothing. This is her sport. She loves basketball.”

“I really don’t know if I can put into words,” said Mikaela Alley on her high school hoop career winding to a close. “Melvin and the team have made me into a player that I didn’t even know that I was capable of being. And I didn’t just find a team, I found a family. It’s been the best three years of my life playing with these girls and pushing them to be the best they can be. I’m looking forward to coming back [next year] and watching them play and hopefully kicking some butt.”

Searsport at Narraguagus girls basketball
Narraguagus hosts Searsport on Feb. 12 in high school girls basketball in Harrington. (Video by: Mark Haskell and Zack Miller)
Vinalhaven coaches Mel Grant, middle, and Briana Ellis, Grant's daughter. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Morgan Ireland, left, and Mikaela Alley, right, along with Narraguagus' Kaci Alley. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Morgan Ireland, left, and Mikaela Alley, right, along with Narraguagus' Kaci Alley. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Makenzie Alley, back, along with Narraguagus' Anna Strout (15) and Kirstin Kennedy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Makenzie Alley, left, and Narraguagus' Anna Strout. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Abby Astbury. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Abby Sempt, left, and Narraguagus' Kirstin Kennedy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Makenzie Alley (22), among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Makenzie Alley (22), among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Abby Astbury, right, and Narraguagus' Madison Pray. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Abby Astbury, right, and Narraguagus' Madison Pray. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Makenzie Alley (22) and Sarah Gent, back, along with Narraguagus' Lanie Perry, left, Kirstin Kennedy (20) and Anna Strout, right. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Makenzie Alley, back, and Narraguagus' Kirstin Kennedy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Makenzie Alley, back, and Sarah Gent (15), along with Narraguagus' Kirstin Kennedy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Makenzie Alley, left, and Narraguagus' Kaci Alley. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Mikaela Alley, left, and Narraguagus' Kirstin Kennedy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Makenzie Alley. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Mikaela Alley, right, and Narraguagus' Kaci Alley, left. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Mikaela Alley, back, among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
(Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Sarah Gent, left, and Narraguagus' Anna Strout. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Makenzie Alley, front, and Narraguagus' Kaci Alley, right, among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Sarah Gent (15), Makenzie Alley, back, Mikaela Alley and Abby Astbury, among a slew of Narraguagus players. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Makenzie Alley, left, and Abby Astbury, back, along with Narraguagus' Kylee Joyce, right, and another. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Mikaela Alley, left, Morgan Ireland, middle, and Ashten Wells, right, along with Narraguagus' Lanie Perry. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Ashten Wells, middle. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Ashten Wells, right, and Narraguagus' Lanie Perry. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Makenzie Alley, right, and Narraguagus' Lanie Alley, left, among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Makenzie Alley. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Makenzie Alley, middle, along with Narraguagus' Emma Redimarker, right, and a teammate. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Abby Stemp, right, and Narraguagus' Emma Redimarker. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Abby Stemp, right, and Narraguagus' Emma Redimarker. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Ashten Wells, middle, along with Narraguagus' Anna Strout, left, and Brenna Smith. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Ashten Wells, left, and Narraguagus' Brenna Smith. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Ashten Wells, left, and Narraguagus' Brenna Smith. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport players, front from left, Makenzie Alley, Ashten Wells, Abby Stemp, Mikaela Alley and Morgan Ireland. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Mikaela Alley, back, and Narraguagus' Kirstin Kennedy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Mikaela Alley, back, and Narraguagus' Kirstin Kennedy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Mikaela Alley, right, along with Narraguagus' Kaci Alley, left, and Lanie Perry. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Mikaela Alley. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Makenzie Alley. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Makenzie Alley, middle, among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Mikaela Alley receives a hug from coach Mel Grant. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Emma Spiegel, right, and Narraguagus' Aspin Schoppee. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Battle under the basketball for Searsport and Narraguagus players. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Battle under the basketball for Searsport and Narraguagus players. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Ashten Wells, left, among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Ashten Wells, left, among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
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