St. John Valley

Ashland overwhelms Van Buren as Hornets look toward Bangor

ASHLAND, Maine — The Ashland girls basketball team beat Van Buren 59-21 on Tuesday in a game it dominated from start to finish.

 

The Bangor-bound Hornets looked at ease against the Crusaders, who were only able to muster three points in the first half as the Hornets scored 33. Van Buren improved its offensive game in the second half, scoring 18 points. But it was not nearly enough to strike at Ashland’s sizable early lead. 

Ashland started strong, scoring 14 points in the first quarter while holding Van Buren to just two.

Ashland player Hailee Cunningham attempts a basket as she is defended by Van Buren players in a game at Ashland on Tuesday. (David Marino Jr. | The Star-Herald )

The match did not get better for Van Buren, who only scored one point in the second quarter while its defense let Ashland have 19 more. The score was 33-3 at halftime.

Though it was down by 30 points, Van Buren went into the third quarter knowing it would need to step up its game to compete with Ashland. The Crusaders were able to increase its offensive output, putting six points on the board. But the Hornets continued to outpace the team, scoring 12. The game was 45-9 at the end of the third.

Van Buren had its best offensive quarter in the fourth, the only in which it got in the double-digit range, scoring 12 points. Ashland outperformed, scoring 14, ensuring that the game would end with a 38-point victory for Ashland. 

Freshman McKenna Condon led the way for Ashland’s dominating performance, scoring 17 points. Juniors Danni Carter and Jamie Poulin had 10 points and eight points, respectively. 

Van Buren junior Brooke Caron had nine points, as did sophomore Kylie Laplante. Eighth-grader Abbie Cormier was third with two points. 

Ashland coach Diana Trams said her team had performed vigorously and aggressively against Van Buren, praising Condon, Carter and junior Hailee Cunningham for making significant impacts, even as Van Buren’s defense double-teamed some of them. 

Van Buren’s Mallory Beaulieu, left, defends Ashland’s Jamie Poulin, center, as Ashland coach Diana Trams, right, watches in a game at Ashland on Tuesday. (David Marino Jr. | The Star-Herald )

Van Buren coach Griffin Clifford acknowledged that his team, which is 1-14, had shown inconsistencies throughout the match and season. Despite good defensive play, he said offensive issues, especially the inability to rebound, had made it difficult to keep it competitive with Ashland.

With the season soon coming to a close, Clifford said he wanted to focus on rebuilding for next year with a passionate and hard-working set of players. 

“These girls have been dedicated,” Clifford said. “If they keep their eyes set and work hard, the results will follow soon enough. They’ve handled a one-win season to this point better than I could ever expect a group of competitive teens to handle it.”

Ashland, 8-8 and in eighth place in Class D North as of Wednesday, still have two games left on its schedule: Washburn on Jan. 30 and Hodgon on Feb. 4. Trams said she would work to improve the team’s skills and record in the games and practices leading up to the playoffs in February.

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