Dexter, ME-- The Dexter Tigers girls basketball team did not play their best game on Saturday afternoon.
When you play defense like the Tigers you can overcome not having your best day.
The Tigers went on a 14-0 run to break a 2-2 tie in the first quarter and rolled to a 41-20 victory over the Penquis Patriots.
The Tigers defense forced 26 turnovers and held Penquis to 19 percent shooting.
"Dexter's defense is by far the best in the league," Penquis coach Jason Snider said. "There is no question about that."
The 41 points was the lowest total for the undefeated Tigers so far this season. They were coming off a 75-49 victory over Stearns.
"The effort was there. I just didn't think our execution was very good. Nothing huge where we need to blow things up and start all over. Just a bunch of little things," Dexter coach Jody Grant said. "We turned the ball over too many times. I thought our quality of shots especially down the stretch was not very good.
"The effort is always at a premium. They always play hard. I ask a lot of them. We expect a lot of them. They expect a lot of themselves. I just think the mental part of the game was lacking for us today."
Sophomore Tasha Pratt scored 10 points in 25 minutes to lead Dexter. Pratt is the point guard for the top seeded Tigers. Coach Grant gave Pratt the keys to lead the team and she is improving each game.
"She (Pratt) has a lot of responsibility. She is only a sophomore and she has basically been given the keys to the car. I thought her defense on the ball today was really good," Grant said. "Eight games into the season I think she is learning what we are trying to do offensively. She needs to be the quarterback on the floor for us and understand situations. I think that is the part that is improving."
The Tigers defeated Penquis 62-40 on December 17th. The Patriots went on a three game winning streak since that game.
"They (Penquis) went on a three game winning streak since the last time we played them. We really wanted to put a stop to that," Tigers senior guard Jordyn Bell said. "We came out strong at first. We could have played a lot better. A win is a win when it comes right down to it."
Lauren Crane recorded eight points, 11 rebounds, five steals, one assist and one block for the Tigers.
Crane and the Tigers know they need to keep working if they want to reach their ultimate goal of playing deep into the class C tournament.
"I do not think it is our best team effort. We had our good moments and we had some bad moments. The good did out weigh the bad and we beat a team that was coming off a three game winning streak," Crane said. "We were able to get the job done today but it will not beat everyone. We will go into practice and learn from it."
Jessica Preble led the Patriots with 10 points and eight rebounds. Lindsay Turner chipped in with six points and seven rebounds.
Lexi Larson and Hannah Bess added two points each. Bess also had six rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block. Larson recorded four rebounds and three steals.
Snider and the Patriots have confidence they can play with the majority of class C when they are clicking.
"We are going to be in there because class C is wide open except for Dexter who look to be the strongest. I think on any given night any team can win," Snider said. "I am not going to go by tonight because we missed four or five layups and foul shots. With those we are right in the game. When we are clicking on all cylinders we can play with anyone. We will be right there at the end."
Things will not get easier for the Patriots. Penquis (3-4) will travel to Orono for a battle against the 7-1 Red Riots on Tuesday evening. They follow that up with a trip to East Millinocket for a contest against the 5-1 Schenck Wolverines.
Bell recorded six points, eight rebounds, four steals and two assists for the Tigers. Gabrielle Adam came off the bench to score six points and pull down five rebounds.
Michaela White recorded five points, four assists, three rebounds, two steals and one block. Abbie Melvin, Alison Pease and Alexis Cunningham scored two points each
Melvin also had five rebounds, two assists and one block. Peyton Watson finished with two rebounds and two assists.
Dexter (8-0) will have road games this week against Bangor Christian on Tuesday, Bucksport on Thursday and Penobscot Valley on Saturday.