University of Maine at Farmington’s Makayla Wilson, left, battles for the loose ball with Maine Maritime Academy’s Eryn Doiron on Saturday in Farmington. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

FARMINGTON — Coach Craig Dagan has had some good women’s basketball teams at Maine Maritime Academy in recent seasons. The Mariners won 19 games last season, and won 20 games in the 2017-18 campaign.

The current team, though, might be the best in more than a decade.

Saturday, MMA took a 53-50 win at UMaine-Farmington. The victory improved the Mariners to 15-4 overall, and 7-1 in the North Atlantic Conference.

“In regards to the whole package, it is. They prepare the right way. They work hard every single day. We have important pieces of the puzzle that help us every day. We defend,” Dagan said. “It’s probably the most balanced team I’ve had in a long, long time. We’ve got a lot of kids who understand their role and perform it well.”

Seniors Eryn Doiron, a Mt. Blue High School graduate, Mikayla Charters, who played at Nokomis, aren’t going to light up the box score with gaudy stats, but they do the little things that win basketball games. They do the things a coach notices, and their fingerprints were all over Saturday’s win.

“They’re the heart and soul of our team, to be honest with you. We use that expression all the time in sports, the glue people. They’re our glue,” Dagan said of Charters and Doiron. “They do a great job of showing the young kids the right way on a regular basis.”

Doiron hasn’t started a game this season, and joined the team late after leading MMA’s soccer team, for which she set the school record for career goals this past fall.

“Everybody has a job on a team, and I’d like to think mine is as a little bit of a hype man. That’s what I do. If we’re a little bit slow, I try to get us going. If we’re hot, try to keep us hot,” Doiron said.

University of Maine at Farmington’s Alex Bessey, right, draws the foul from Maine Maritime Academy’s Melinda Ogden on Saturday in Farmington. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Doiron played 18 minutes Saturday, and was on the floor in the key final minute. With the Mariners holding a one-point lead with under 30 seconds, Doiron had the ball at the top of the key, with the shot clock winding down. Doiron thought of taking the three, but saw Lauren Plissy make a cut to the basket. Doiron’s pass was perfect, and Plissey sank the layup for a three-point lead with 12 seconds to play.

“I’ve got a lot of faith in (Plissey). I knew that was the right choice. I thought about (shooting), but I knew she’d do her job if I made the right pass,” Doiron said.

Dagan called a 30-second timeout with 36.3 seconds left, setting up that key possession.

“I didn’t even get in the huddle because Eryn took the huddle. I trust them that much,” Dagan said.

Doiron scored three points, all on a and-one chance late in the third quarter, pushing MMA’s lead to six points at the time. She also had two assists, two rebounds, and a steal. Doiron has been a strong mentor to freshman point guard Maureen Stanton, Dagan said.

“Eryn’s been a calming influence and a good resource for (Stanton). You can’t ever undervalue senior leadership,” Dagan said. “Both of them have played a ton of games and understand what it takes to win.”

Charters is a fifth-year senior, back for an extra season after missing her sophomore year recovering from a torn ACL. Charters embraces her role as a glue player. Against UMF, Charters had six rebounds, two assists, a steal, and six points.

“I’m definitely a glue player. I’m not much of a scorer. I’m the one to dive on the floor, take charges, get an offensive rebound,” Charters said.

Both Charters and Doiron take pride in the Mariners being a defense-first team. The Mariners lead the North Atlantic Conference in fewest points per game allowed (50.2) and field goal percentage (30.8 percent).  Saturday, while MMA shot just 30 percent from the floor (21 for 70), UMF shot just 24.6 percent (14 for 57)

“We didn’t have the best offensive night tonight and our defense helped us pull out this win,” Charters said.

“That’s what we do. We get stops, we get rebounds,” Doiron said. “If we carry out that, we give ourselves a good chance to win.”

What makes this year’s MMA team potentially special is its unity, Doiron said.

University of Maine at Farmington’s Molly Folsom (24) draws a foul on Maine Maritime Academy’s Emily Melick (23) in Farmington on Saturday. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“We’ve had a lot of good groups in my four years, but what’s really special about this one is how close we are. We’re a really close team on and off the floor,” Doiron said. “There’s practically no drama and everybody trusts each other. I think that’s something special that I don’t think a lot of teams in the conference can say.”

There are seven games left in the Mariners’ regular season. To Charters, the formula doesn’t have to change.

“It’s the little things that are going to make us a championship contender,” Charters said.

Comments are not available on this story.