It’s always important to set a positive tone for a basketball season early on, whether you’re a favorite or an underdog.
Two Northern Maine girls teams expected to be in the conversation for regional championships in their respective classes – Stearns of Millinocket and Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook – got their journeys to the Cross Insurance Center started on resounding notes last Friday.
The Minutemen of Class C and the Warriors of Class D both won opening-night road games in convincing fashion, with Stearns cruising past Lee Academy 93-16 and Southern Aroostook dispatching Fort Fairfield 67-33.
Coach Cliff Urquhart’s Warriors were the youngest team in the state last winter, with a roster loaded with eighth-graders and freshmen.
Now, that roster is a year older, and is showing no signs of slowing down, at least one game into the season.
The Warriors, who had four players score in double figures, put the game away early with a 20-4 first-quarter run against a Tigers’ club that went 17-1 in Class C last winter.
Eighth-grader Kacy Daggert led the charge with 20 points, with Sydney Brewer scoring 16, Kylie Vining 13 and Madelyn Porter 11.
Meanwhile in Lee, Katherine Alley paced three Stearns players in double figures with 27 points, with sister Emma adding 16 points, along with Paige Ingersoll.
It’s hard to put a lot of stock into just one game and the season is young, but Stearns and Southern Aroostook certainly showed why they will be among the teams to beat in Northern Maine Class C and D this winter.