LEWISTON — Lewiston-Auburn Maples coach Jim Seavey and owner Josh Brister never foresaw a frustrating ending to a team that turned in a glowing 4-1 record in its first season.

The Mount Vernon Shamrocks abruptly halted the LA Maples’ playoff run with an eye-opening 89-62 victory in a Women’s American Basketball Association playoff game at the Lewiston Memorial Gym before a small crowd on Sunday afternoon. The Maples conclude their season while Mount Vernon heads to the WABA Final Four in Greensboro, North Carolina, at the end of September.

The LA Maples stayed right on the Shamrocks’ heels for the first and second quarters before Mount Vernon opened up with its devastating fast breaks in the second half. The agile and speedy Shamrocks scored 37 points in the third quarter, while the Maples struggled with their shooting, answering with 20 points of their own.

“Not the outcome we wanted, not even the outcome we expected, which is the crazy part …,” Brister said. “When Jim and I talked about this, we did not think today was possible. It is a different ball game when your shots drops, right?”

But the loss did not dampen Brister’s pride in his athletes or the community that showed solid support for the Maples throughout the season.

“We didn’t play up to our standards in the first half and still it was only a six-point game, and let’s just face it — (the Maples) were unconscious behind arc in the third quarter,” Seavey said. “We just could buy (a basket). That’s the nature of the game, right?


“Some days you are going to have your day some days aren’t going to be your days. We just picked a bad time to have an off day. It was nothing intensional. The girls worked, they played hard and competed, but some times you have to take your cap off to the other team. … They shot the ball well that second half.”

It really was a tale of halves in this postseason game, with the first half a neck-and-neck battle to halftime.

By the end of the first quarter, the Shamrocks led 22-20, with Maples point guard Lexi Barros’ outside shooting keeping the Maples in the game. She turned in the game-high 20 points and knocked down four 3-pointers to help the LA Maples keep pace with the Shamrocks. Captain Kayla Vangelist scored 18 points.

There were signs toward end of the second quarter that the Shamrocks were preparing to break the game wide open in the second half. Mount Vernon held a 36-30 lead going into the third quarter.

“We decided at halftime we thought that their guards couldn’t handle the pressure so we came to the decision that let’s press them at the top of the court — and it worked out well,” Mount Vernon coach Edwin Lopiz said. “(The LA Maples) are a good team. (They are) are hard to defend because they set so many picks, and our team is from Brooklyn and we don’t play that slow-down game. As you can see, we like to run and gun. 

“Here, they like to set picks and that was something we had to adjust to. Their point guard (Barros) is great.”


Mount Vernon’s run-and-gun offense produced 37 points in the third quarter, but its accurate shooting was equally impressive. Forward Kim Blankney tossed in 12 of her team-high 19 points to help the Shamrocks take control of the game. Aquillin Hayes followed Blankney with 18 points. 

“After halftime, I had to give myself a pep talk,” Blankey said. “I don’t know. I think I woke up. I think I liked the energy we came out with in the second half.” 

Guard Niki Avery and teammates Jade Vega and Desi Elmore each scored 14, 13 and 10 points respectively to help Mount Vernon’s cause.

“We are both veteran players (Blankney) for the most part and we were telling each other in the first half, ‘Guys, c’mon we have to play our game … and the third quarter, we finally woke up and we did it,” Avery said. “We did it some in the first half, but it wasn’t going our way all the time, but it clicked in the third quarter.”

Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline was also on hand to support the LA Maples.

“I know the team gave it their all, and I just congratulate them on a really great season,” Sheline said. “I’ve been following all along and they have been a really great team.”

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