Blue Hill—The Eagles girls basketball team finished their season with a 51-41 loss against Mattanawcook February 6. But the score was only one part of the night.
The Eagles’ final game was played at home, with seniors Mazie Smallidge and Emma Crosby recognized before the game.
“I’ve worked with these girls since they were in sixth and seventh grade so I’ve really seen them grow into amazing young adults,” Coach Brandi Ensworth said.
Ensworth, who served as assistant coach for 10 years, coached the junior varsity team last season and moved into head varsity coach this year, agreed that her team looked better on court than their win-loss record indicates.
“I think we have a pretty strong group of girls. We have a lot of smarts; our basketball IQ is pretty high. It’s just getting to be able to pull out those close wins,” Ensworth said.
The team will finish with a 5-13 record, likely ranked 18th after the final Class C games are played this week, well below the tournament cut-off.
At the start of the season, the goal “is always to make it to play offs, and to be the last team standing,” Ensworth said, “[but] I haven’t seen them really quit.”
And, while a heartbreaking loss to Deer Isle-Stonington in January—after holding a 20-point lead in the first half—was not the desired end result by any means, that half was “by far the best game they’ve played this season,” Ensworth said.
Of her two seniors, Ensworth said, “[Crosby]’s our point guard, she works the floor, she controls the team. You may not have seen her in the points this year, but she controls the floor so well I don’t think we would be the same team without her.”
And Smallidge? “That girl works her tail off,” Ensworth said. “She averaged 15 to 20 points, she was our leading scorer, our top rebounder. She had big shoes to fill this year…I knew going into this year she was going to be a huge contributor and she didn’t let me down.”
Those shoes Smallidge filled belonged to 2017 senior Morgan Dauk, and Ensworth said her loss was tough to get used to.
“It’s hard when you have a player that contributes that much to a team,” she said. “I think it was a big adjustment coming in.”
Ensworth said she plans to return as head coach next year, with assistant coaches Maddie Gray and Rochelle Kane, and is looking forward to working with her returning and new players.
With 10 varsity players returning next year Ensworth said, “Hopefully we’ll be able to turn it around. It’s hard to say, but I think these girls have a lot of talent and will go far next year.”