Youthful Mariners making waves in Class D North girls ranks

The Deer Isle-Stonington girls basketball team took a 12-0 record into a Wednesday game at Greenville.

But just how good the youthful Mariners are remains to be seen because Greenville is the only team Deer Isle-Stonington has played that possessed a winning record.

Greenville took a 7-6 mark into the game, including a 40-35 loss at Deer Isle on Dec. 27.

Jonesport-Beals was 7-7, including losses of seven and 11 points to the Mariners, entering a Wednesday game at Shead of Eastport.

But fourth-year head coach Randy Shepard said the teams they’ve beaten have been good teams.

“Some nights we’ve had a real good outing and, other nights, we struggle a little but we’re able to pull it together and get it done,” said Shepard.

He has been elated with his team, which has only one senior on its roster.

“They are right where we want them to be,” said Shepard. “They have played together very well. We set the bar a little higher because our freshmen have a lot of talent. And they have responded well.”

The Mariners, who compete in Class D North, have exhibited scoring balance and displayed the kind of resiliency usually reserved for a more veteran team in a 55-51 victory over Class C George Stevens Academy on Jan. 11. In that game, Deer Isle-Stonington rallied from a 17-point halftime deficit.

“GSA shot the lights out in the first half,” said Shepard. “So I challenged the girls at halftime. I said it was gut check time. I wanted to see what they were made of. I told them if they wanted (a win), they had to go get it.

“We scored 22 points in the fourth quarter. We don’t generally do that,” said Shepard.

Three freshmen figure prominently for the Mariners.

Kaylee Morey, who stands 5-foot-4, is a starting guard. Taylor Hardy (5-7) is the first post player off the bench and 5-5 Rylee Eaton is the first guard to be summoned.
Morey can score from anywhere according to Shepard and has been the team’s leading scorer in multiple games as has Eaton, who has developed into a solid defender, also.

Hardy is a “very good rebounder” according to Shepard.

Lily Gray, a 5-4 junior guard, is the team’s leading scorer and has added an inside game to her scoring repertoire to complement her perimeter production.

Six-foot center Orly Vaughn, the team’s lone senior, and 5-10 sophomore forward Katie Hutchinson supply the Mariners with a formidable post partnership.

“They can rebound with the best of them,” said Shepard, who noted that they have also been the team’s high scorers in games this season.

The other starter is 5-3 sophomore guard Brie Limeburner who is a tenacious defender.

“She’s the heart and soul of our defense,” said Shepard, whose Mariners went 11-8 last season including a 45-23 loss to Easton in the Class D North quarterfinals.

He pointed out that Hutchinson, Eaton, Morey, Hardy and Gray all play AAU basketball in the offseason and that has definitely helped them.

Shepard, who spent two years as an assistant before taking over as the head coach, said this team has the potential to be the best of the six with which he has been involved.

“We have speed and size. We can run the floor when we want to,” said Shepard. “We just want to keep the intensity and focus up and keep getting better.”