The three-time regional champion Houlton High School girls basketball team had a busy and valuable four days last week.
The Shiretowners, who are in their first season back in Class C after dropping down from Class B, played three quality opponents in those four nights and won all three to improve to 16-0 entering a Monday night game at Calais.
Last Tuesday, the Shires beat Class B Caribou 54-48 in Caribou before upending Class B Presque Isle at home on Wednesday, 65-44, and capping the week with a 52-39 triumph at Class C contender Central of Corinth.
Presque Isle began this week at 12-5 and in fourth place in the Class B North Heal Points standings; Caribou was 8-9 and sixth in B North and Central was 14-2, with its only two losses coming to Houlton.
“It was a very stiff challenge for us,” said Houlton coach Shawn Graham. “We played two of the better B teams and one of the best in C.
“It was the best thing that could have happened to us. It was exactly what we needed to get ready for the tournament in a couple of weeks,” Graham added. “If you’re going to win (the tournament), you’ve got to play three games in a week and you have to play back-to-back games.”
Graham said his team played its best game of the season in the win over Presque Isle.
“We’re playing our best basketball of the season right now,” said the Houlton coach. “We’re defending very well and rebounding well. And we’ve been getting great balance.”
Houlton captured the regional and state championship in Class C in 2015 before moving to Class B for the last two seasons.
Houlton won the state in Class B in 2016 and annexed another regional title in B last season before losing to Gray-New Gloucester 35-31 in last year’s state final.
Houlton had beaten Gray-New Gloucester 48-35 the previous year.
Following the Calais game, Houlton will conclude the regular season at home against Hodgdon on Wednesday.
Houlton continues to be led by 6-foot senior Kolleen Bouchard, a Bangor Daily News All-Maine Schoolgirl Basketball first-team selection a year ago.