FALMOUTH—After giving defending regional champion Lake Region and traditional powerhouse York scares before ultimately losing, the Poland girls' basketball team wasn't about to let another attainable victory slip away Saturday afternoon.
In a back-and-forth affair at Falmouth, the Knights were down 9-4 early and 36-29 late in the third period, but closed the contest on an 18-4 surge to win, 47-40, evening their record at 2-2, dropping the Yachtsmen to 2-2 in the process.
A left-handed runner from junior Emily Bolduc gave Poland its first lead of the second half, 37-36, with 5:05 to play and a 3-ball from sharpshooting sophomore Michaella Arsenault made it 40-36 two minutes later, but the Yachtsmen got back-to-back hoops from dynamic sister tandem Anna Hickey (13 points) and Ally Hickey (11 points) to tie the score, 40-40, with 2:35 to go.
Poland regrouped and closed with authority.
With 1:49 left, Knights junior Lindsay Theriault made a layup to put Poland ahead to stay. The Knights then locked down on defense and got the job done at the foul line.
With 1:02 to play, Bolduc made the first of a one-and-one situation and after missing the second, Arsenault grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled. Arsenault, still in the one-and-one, hit both of her shots for a 45-40 lead and a little breathing room.
Single free throws from Arsenault and senior Brittina Maheux, who scored 12 points, accounted for the final score.
"It was good that we could finish," said Poland coach Darren Littlefield. "I told the girls how proud I was of them. We were ahead against Lake Region and were close with York. We just made some bad decisions at the end of those two games.
"This is a big win for us. We answered when they came back and tied it up. I was nervous. I didn't know if we'd step it up or if we'd get wild eyed and not believe. I told them in a timeout we had an ability to finish it out and not win by one, but win by more than five."
Bolduc led all scorers with 16 points, while Arsenault added 15.
"I think we played with a lot more confidence (today)," said Bolduc. "We slowed the game down a lot, which was beneficial to us. I feel like we've come so far as a team. Last year, we wouldn't have been able to finish these kinds of games. We played really smart. We've never trusted each other like we do this season. We're like a family. It shows on the court."
Poland hopes to build on the momentum of this win when it hosts Fryeburg and Greely Wednesday and Friday of next week.
"We had a big win against York last year which carried us into the playoffs," Littlefield said. "We need to be and I think we can be in every game."