Megan Peach admitted that Wednesday’s season-ending 48-32 victory over Stearns High of Millinocket “couldn’t have been scripted any better.”
Not only was it Seniors Night, Dexter knocked the Minutemen from the ranks of the undefeated and the senior center reached the 1,000-point plateau by pouring in a career-high 32 points.
“It was a really emotional night,” said Peach.
She was pleased to reach 1,000 points, but said the victory was the most important aspect of the evening.
The Tigers avenged their most lopsided loss of the season, a 59-31 setback on Jan. 6 at Millinocket.
“After that first game, we wanted to come back (and beat them). We knew we were better than that. That was the ultimate goal,” said Peach.
So how did she celebrate after the triumph?
“I went home and watched two (NBA) games,” said Peach who, according to Dexter coach Jody Grant, is a “basketball junkie.”
“Most kids could care less. You find very few who like to watch basketball and follow it. Megan does. She loves basketball,” said Grant.
“I’ve loved it since fifth grade,” said Peach, who finds NBA players like Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry and former Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett inspirational.
“Steph Curry is probably 6-foot-3, 180 pounds soaking wet so you know he had to kill himself in the gym to get where he is. He’s a two-time MVP,” said Peach. “And I Iove Kevin Garnett. He is a player’s player. He was the heart and soul of the team. He controlled traffic. He told people how to be better and he was always there for his teammates. He didn’t care about his numbers. He just cared about winning.
“He once said his goal was to be the best teammate he could be,” added Peach, who also plays field hockey and softball.
Grant considers the 6-foot Peach to be a special individual.
“She is a great kid,” said Grant. “She is very well-liked around the school. Many of her senior classmates came out to watch her. She has played in every game since she was a freshman. She has been one of those consistent figures in our program both on and off the court. If I called her and told her we had a basketball thing at the rec early Saturday morning, she’d be the first one there.”
Grant said she has a great work ethic and has improved herself every year.
“She has really improved her ability to shoot the ball away from the basket. And she has become a better rebounder. She has really worked on getting better position under the basket,” said Grant.
“I’m able to shoot a midrange jumper now and I’ve hit some threes,” said Peach, who noted that by being able to shoot from the outside, it draws her opponents out on her rather than allowing them to congest the lane.
“And I’ve tried to get better post moves,” said Peach, who is averaging 15 points and 12 rebounds a game according to Grant.
She has been pleased with her career but said, “I can’t be 100 percent happy because we haven’t won anything yet.”
Dexter did reach the regional finals two years ago before losing to eventual state champ Houlton 46-38.
They lost to another eventual state champ, Narraguagus of Harrington, in the semifinals last year 39-24.
Grant was pleased with his team’s execution in the victory over Stearns.
“We didn’t really do anything different. We didn’t scrap the blueprint. We just executed as well as we have all year,” said Grant. “Stearns throttled us up there. They are so athletic. They overhelmed us.
“But we were a little more prepared this time. We didn’t turn the ball over as much. We relaxed and took our time. We knew we had to be smart against them.”
Peach has been the team’s catalyst but they have also received a sizeable contribution from senior Abby Webber, who is playing point guard for the first time.
“She hasn’t shied away from the responsibility that comes with it. She has been our primary ball handler,” said Grant.
Junior Kaitlyn Webber, Abby’s sister, and senior Ashley Reynolds are the other starting guards and junior Rebecca Batron and senior Kayli Cunningham share the other starting spot inside.
Cunningham is the team’s second leading scorer (8 ppg) and Batron is the No. 2 rebounder (6 rpg).
Kaylee Deering is a productive sophomore guard off the bench.
Grant said he has benefited from playing a tough schedule that has included two games apiece with Class B powers Central of Corinth and Foxcroft Academy as well as C contenders Stearns and Piscataquis of Guilford.
His team is 12-6 and will host a play-in game and Grant said it is important that his girls remember that the Stearns win is past tense.
“But it did show us what we can accomplish if we play well,” he said.