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Red Riots turn up the defense in 44-39 victory over Dexter

The Orono Red Riots defeat Dexter 44-39 on Tuesday evening
The Orono Red Riots defeat Dexter 44-39 on Tuesday evening
Sally Sinclair

DEXTER-- Hannah Clement recorded 14 points, four assists, and four steals to lead the Orono Red Riots girls basketball team to a 44-39 victory over Dexter at Guiski Gymnasium on Tuesday evening.

Clement also led a strong Red Riots defense that forced 25 Dexter turnovers. They held Dexter to 37.5% shooting from the field.

Clement shot 5-5 from the field, including 4-4 from three point range.

"Hannah (Clement) played tough, she had some turnovers against their pressure, but Hannah is not going to back down from a challenge. She would turn the ball over then come back down and hit a key three pointer,"Orono coach Jessica Witham said. "It sometimes gets lost how much Hannah does defensively. She tends to guard the other teams best player pretty much every game. I can't say enough about Hannah's effort."

Orono has only allowed 40 or more points in three games so far this season. That has propelled the Riots to a 10-1 record.

"Every game this season we have said offense can waver, sometimes you are on and sometimes you are off, but defense is all about effort. You shouldn't have any off days on defense,"Witham said. "Whoever I put in the game, they work their tales off and really contribute to our defensive effort. That is part of the reason why our team has been so successful this year so far."

Dexter was able to stay in the game with strong defense of their own. They forced 28 Red Riots turnovers.

"We are both very good defensive teams, we are both very intense. I guess whoever handles the pressure better gets the ballgame,"Clement said. "We focused on coming out good in the first half. Rotating on defense and winning with our defense."

Katie Sypher played a strong post game for the Red Riots. She put in 10 points and grabbed five rebounds.

"We did well handling their pressure, especially in the second half, "Clement said. "We adjusted to how the refs were calling the game, and we found a way to get the ball inside."

Orono also defeated Dexter 62-47 earlier in the season.

"We hurt ourselves with too many turnovers and not enough quality possessions,"Dexter coach Jody Grant said."We did not shoot the ball as well as we are capable of. Credit them with causing a lot of havoc."

Dexter rallied at the end of each half.

Orono held a 20-12 lead with 1:40 remaining in the second quarter. The Tigers scored the final six points of the half to cut the lead to 20-18.

Orono held their biggest lead of 12 (37-25) when Katie Smith made a shot with 7:04 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Clement nailed a three pointer to give the Riots a 40-31 lead with 2:33 remaining.

Tasha Pratt and Michaela White hit back to back three pointers to cut the lead to 41-39 with 28 seconds remaining.

Elea Kass nailed three free throws in the final 20 seconds to secure the victory for Orono.

"I thought it was just enough to win. I give Dexter a lot of credit,"Witham said. "They had a big run at the end of the second quarter and a big run at the end of the fourth quarter."

Smith recorded nine points, eight rebounds, and two steals for the Red Riots.

Kass finished with six points (6-8 FT), and three steals.

Kassidy Dill added three points, while Ally Gonyar chipped in with two.

Orono is scheduled to host Old Town on Thursday.

Abbie Melvin led the Tigers with 13 points and seven steals.

Peyton Watson recorded nine points, two assists, and two steals. White added seven points, five rebounds, and three steals.

Bobbie Chambers and Pratt had three points each. Abbey Jordan chipped in with two points, six steals, and two assists. Megan Peach added two points.

Dexter (9-3) is scheduled to host Central on Saturday afternoon.