GUILFORD-- Delani Bennett scored 25 points and pulled down 17 rebounds to lead the Piscataquis community high school (PCHS) Pirates to a 72-57 victory over Sumner in a class C girls preliminary round victory on Tuesday evening.
PCHS never trailed.
The Pirates went on an 8-0 run in the first quarter to take a 12-4 lead.
"The girls came out ready to play," PCHS coach Brian Gaw said. "We didn't have a first quarter lull like we've been prone to do."
PCHS used strong inside play and a height advantage to out-rebound Sumner 41-31.
Bennett and Haylee Patterson combined to score 39 points and grab 26 rebounds.
Gaw said, "We worked the ball pretty well inside and Delani (Bennett) was aggressive to the basket."
Sumner went on a 10-4 run at the end of the second quarter to cut the deficit to 29-25 going into halftime.
"You have to give Sumner credit, Gaw said. "They were undersized but scrapped the entire game and hit enough threes to hang in."
Alex Speed made a three pointer at the end of the third quarter to give the Pirates a 53-38 lead. PCHS put the game away with a 9-1 run to start the fourth quarter.
Savana Turner led the Tigers with 21 points. She was held to 1-8 shooting in the second half.
"A big key was Mikayla Dow's defense on Turner in the second half," Gaw said. "She really focused on taking away her right side and held her in check for the most part."
PCHS bounced back from losing five of their last six games during the regular season.
"I'm proud of them, Gaw said. We ended the year in a bit of tailspin, but came to play tonight. It's a new season."
Patterson scored 14 points (5-5 FG and 4-4 FT) and pulled down nine rebounds for the Pirates. Speed added 12 points, six assists, four rebounds, and two steals.
Jordynne Littlefield recorded 10 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Dow added seven rebounds, five assists, and four rebounds.
PCHS (11-8) will face Orono for the second year in a row at the tournament. This time it will be in a quarterfinal game at Cross Insurance Center. Click here for the full class C girls tournament schedule.
Orono defeated PCHS 45-40 in the quarterfinals last season at Bangor Auditorium.
"Next to Calais maybe, there isn't a more tournament tested team recently that we could face," Gaw said. "They've had a few games this year when teams seem to have a shot at them. They're so mentally tough they almost don't know how to lose. It'll be a tough test for sure but we're looking forward to it. You have to be or you shouldn't be there."
Jessica West recorded 11 points, four rebounds, and two assists for the Tigers. Kendra Barnes added 10 points.
Alexandria Coelho recorded five points, 13 rebounds, three assists, and two steals for Sumner who finished the season with a record of 7-12.