TURNER — Whether it was all the recent snow that kept the teams from practicing over the past few days, Tuesday’s opening half of the Class A South girls’ basketball preliminary round game between Morse and Leavitt was one to forget.

The Shipbuilders scored just eight points, but still better than the six the Hornets put on the scoreboard. In fact, Leavitt failed to post a point in the first quarter.

In the second half, the eighth-seeded hosts found a bit of an offensive flow, plowing ahead for a 38-25 victory.

“Nobody has practiced, including (Morse), so blame the first half on that,” Leavitt coach Dave Gerrish said after his team made just 3-of-34 shots from the field and missed all five of its free throw attempts. “We couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean, but luckily they couldn’t either. We tried to stay connected, and we hoped in the second half we could make some baskets.”

For Morse, the No. 9 seed, scoring has been a continuing problem. Coming into Tuesday, the Shipbuilders were averaging 29 points per contest over their last nine games.

“It has been our nemesis all year, not being able to put the ball in the basket,” Morse coach Becky Roak said after her team made just 8-of-50 from the field and 7-of-18 at the free-throw line. “Tonight, we had plenty of opportunities, open looks, open layups that we blew. This team plays hard defensively. Leavitt played hard, was scrappy and deserved to win tonight.”

Shut out

The Shipbuilders (5-14) pitched a first-quarter shutout, thanks to Leavitt missing all 12 of its shots.

Morse didn’t light it up, getting a field goal each from Mae Winglass and Hope Faulkingham, along with a free throw from Noa Sreden for a 5-0 advantage through one quarter.

Gerrish inserted Liz Goulette, who quickly put back her own miss to open the second quarter for Leavitt’s first points. She scored four of her team’s six points in the quarter as the Hornets clawed to 8-6 at the half.

“We seem to start out this way then pick it up in the second half,” Goulette said.

Morse leading scorer Sierra Wallace, who was held scoreless in the first half, opened the second with a 3-pointer for an 11-6 Shipbuilders lead, and Emma Gould made it 13-8 moments later.

Leavitt began its comeback on a trey by Allie Belaire, and Goulette tied the contest.

Faulkingham followed her own miss to give Morse its final lead, 15-13.

Rebecca Fogg tied the game, and Goulette put the Hornets ahead to stay with a three-point play. She finished the quarter with 10 points and Leavitt held a 21-15 advantage heading to the fourth.

“We started getting into the post, just cutting more and getting motion in the offense,” Goulette said. “Defensively, we were proud at the half, but we knew that we had to do things better offensively.”

Leavitt owned the boards in the second half, out-rebounding Morse, 22-16, including eight caroms off the offensive glass.

“For us, we work on rebounding all the time, and it worked for us,” Gerrish said.

“That goes back to their determination, and anytime we play Leavitt, it is always a game, they play hard and get after the ball,” Roak said. “As a whole, we did our job on the boards. We just didn’t put the ball into the basket.”

Leavitt continued its offensive push in the final frame, with Belaire adding five more points, with four more coming from Fogg as the Hornets pulled away down the stretch. Belaire had eight points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Fogg added six points, seven boards and three steals.

For Morse, Wallace scored all eight of her points in the second half and added eight rebounds, three steals and three assists. Faulkingham chipped in six points and six caroms, while Sreden picked up seven rebounds and three steals.

“We didn’t get scoring from some of our scorers, and they put shots up and they missed, went to the foul line and missed, and that starts to play with your mind,” Roak said.

Roak loses a handful of seniors.

“Noa, a four-year starter, has been through a ton with me, just a leader, along with Hope,” Roak said. “Basketball is something they enjoy and is fun for them. These seniors will go on and be successful in whatever college they go to.”

For Gerrish, he hopes to get in a few practices before facing top-seeded Greely in the Class A South quarterfinals at the Portland Expo on Monday at 7:30 p.m. With snow predicted on Wednesday, practice is a definite question mark.

“If the snow lets us, we will get in some practice and get ready for Greely,” Gerrish said.

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