PORTLAND — Whatever jitters or hesitancy Spruce Mountain might have been experiencing in the first quarter ceased in the second when it erupted for 20 straight points in Saturday morning’s Class B South girls basketball quarterfinal.

The second-quarter outburst set the tone for the rest of this showdown, and the second-seeded Phoenix glided to a 64-44 victory over 10th-seeded York at the Portland Expo.

“We have a lot of really good players that can allow you to go on runs like (in the second quarter),” Spruce Mountain coach Zach Keene said. “That is what we do, I have seen it happen all year. This not the first that has happened. It was a great time for it to happen, but, yeah, it was good to see.”

The Wildcats were held to four points in the second period.

Spruce Mountain goes on to face third-seeded Wells (17-2), which beat sixth-ranked Maranacook 46-31 on Saturday, in the semifinals Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Portland Expo.

This is the second season in a row that the Phoenix have reached the semifinals. Last year, they beat Lincoln Academy in the first round before losing to eventual state champion Oceanside in the semifinal last season.


Sisters Jaydn and Jazmine Pingree combined for 26 points, and never flinched on their drives to the basket, despite a group of York (8-12) defenders often standing in the twins’ way. Jaydn lead the team with 15 points and Jazmine supplied 11. Olivia Mastine helped out with 14 points, making 5 of 6 at the free-throw line, and Aubrey Kachnovich had 12 for Spruce Mountain.

“(The Wildcats) were good, but we knew had to come out and play a good team game, and we did,” Jadyn Pingree said. “We passed the ball and shared the ball very well. Our communication was very high and we just worked through it.” 

The Phoenix (18-1) were a force on offense and defense in the second half, but York was defiant for the entire game.

“It was just a matter of settling into what we were trying to do,” Keene said. “I think there was a little bit of jitters early that we worked through, and then we have been really focusing on sharing the ball and playing hard in transition, and then we started to get loose and share the ball and shots started to go in.”

Both teams showed signs of the jitters in the first quarter, which ended in 11-11 tie.

“We were a little nervous coming out, but we knew we had it,” Jadyn Pingree said. “We came together as a team.”


Kachnovich admitted the Phoenix needed a jolt of something get the offense moving.

“I know we started out a little slow, but the second quarter, we went like really strong and we worked hard together,” Kachnovich said. “Our defense was really good. We got a lot of steals and we talked to each other a lot, and all of shots were falling and we took some really nice drives to the hoop and kicked it out when needed. We just passed the ball really well.”

York’s Ava Brent led all scorers with 24 points, including four 3-pointers, and teammate Nya Avery scored 12.

“York competed the entire time,” Keene said. “So going on that run and kind of getting our feet under us going into halftime was really important, and we were able to sustain it throughout the second half.” 

Not only did the Phoenix go on a 20-point outburst, they prevented the Wildcats from scoring for the five minutes and 20 seconds in that key second quarter.

“We want to be able to control the tempo of games,” Keene said. “We want to play on our terms. We feel like that defense that we run can do that for us and it kind of puts us in an aggressive mindset to start the game. 

“But, again, you need a lot of good, smart players to do that, and that’s what we have. When they get rolling and playing around and they are all on the same page, they put runs like that together.”

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