(PRESQUE ISLE, ME) -- Emily Pelletier (Sr./Fort Kent, ME) came off a screen to the left of the top of the key with 11 seconds remaining, stepped back, and calmly drained a three-pointer to give the UMaine-Presque Isle Owls a 73-71 lead over visiting Thomas College. Moments later, after a Megan Pelletier miss on the other end, Owl Amanda Hotham (Fr./Fort Fairfield, ME) got the rebound, was fouled, went to the free throw line, and calmly drained both ends of a "1-and-1" to give UMPI a 75-71 victory.
The game was the last of the weekend's Star City Classic, hosted by Presque Isle. The Owls' win improves them to 4-9 for the season and 4-1 in 2013. Thomas, who lost two games this weekend by a total of eight points, falls to 3-10.
Both teams came out clicking on offense. The game started with an 8-2 by the Owls, 6 of those points coming from Doni Yendriga (Fr./Conneaut, ME). After a quick timeout, Terrier coach Ted Rioux's squad settled down and proceeded to go on a 12-2 run of their own. The two NCAA Division III opponents traded buckets over the next few minutes before Presque Isle got the last run of the half. Down 20-15, UMPI outscored Thomas 25-16 to wrap up the game's first 20 minutes leading 40-36.
The majority of the second half was owned by the visiting team. The Terriers' pounced out of the gate, using their substantial size advantage (TC's starters run 5'9, 5'11, 6'0, 6'0, 6'1) to pull down offensive rebounds and score putbacks to the tune of a 16-6 run.
Up 52-46 with 14 minutes to play, the Terriers kept the hosts at bay, allowing 3 ties but never losing their lead completely all of the way until the 2:00 mark.
With Pelletier being blanketed in full denial coverage by Thomas, Hotham came up huge. 12 of the rookie guard's 15 points came in the final 8 minutes. Hotham's free throw line jumper at 1:57 gave the Owls their first lead (68-67) since the 18:00 minute mark of the second half. Included in her run was a 4-4 performance from the free throw line including the eventual game winners.
Presque Isle won both games on the weekend and have won 4 of 5 overall. Thomas has lost 4 straight and 8 of their previous 9.
Both teams finished with 4 scorers in double figures. Megan Pelletier led Thomas and all scorers with 22. Ashleigh Gagne added 14, Katie McAllister had 12, and Emilee Reynolds contributed 11.
The Owls were led by Olivia McNally's (Jr./Sherman, ME) and Hotham's 15. Randi Kaplan (So./Embden, ME) scored a season-high 14 on 6-9 shooting. UMPI's Pelletier scored 10 including the big three down the stretch.
* In addition to her 15 points, McNally dished out 7 assists. In the past two weekends, over a 4-game stretch she has dropped 30 "dimes" on opponents while surrendering only 9 turnovers.
* Despite winning two games last weekend the Owls struggled greatly at the free throw line, shooting a lowly 39% (13-33). However they addressed the issue during the week seems to have worked. In THIS weekend's 2-0 stretch the Owls shot a stellar 96% (25-26).
* Bench play has been a huge factor in Presque Isle's current 5-game stretch. Through the first eight games (0-8) the team's bench averaged 12.5 ppg. Over their last 5 games (4-1) that number has gone up to 20.6
* After the UMaine-Presque Isle / Thomas game, members of the Star City Classic "All-Classic" Team were announced: Javana Bernard (Fisher), Megan Pelletier (Thomas), Sam Carapellucci (Fort Kent), Taylor Boucher (Fort Kent), Randi Kaplan (Presque Isle), and Amanda Hotham (Presque Isle).
The Classic's MVP was Emily Pelletier (Presque Isle).
Other Star City Classic Day 2 Results:
UMaine-Fort Kent 86, Fisher 63
In the Sunday opener, Brooke Harris scored 24 points to lead Fort Kent over the Falcons, 86-63. Kendashia Myles came off the bench to shoot 9-15 from the floor and finished with 20. She also led the Bengals with 12 rebounds.
Fisher's Javana Bernard scored 29 points in the loss. Porsha Grayson posted a double-double scoring 21 and ripping down 12 boards.
Fisher went 0-2 over the weekend and fell to 0-15. Fort Kent won both their games this weekend and is now 10-8.