By Ryan McLaughlin
Saturday was a day of prime matchups of girls basketball contenders in the northern Maine ranks, and none of them disappointed.
Several teams moved their way up the Heal Point standings in their respective classes as a result of victories over fellow contenders.
One of those teams was Hampden Academy, which faced a challenging road test in Newport against a Nokomis club riding high after knocking Skowhegan from the ranks of the unbeaten earlier in the week.
But coach Tim Scott’s Broncos sent a message to the rest of Class A that they will be a tough out come February, eking out a 58-53 victory.
That win was the eighth straight for Hampden after back-to-back losses to open the season.
Underclassmen paved the way for the Broncos, with sophomore Bailey Donovan registering 16 points and freshman Alydia Brillant scoring 11.
The win vaulted the Broncos, who played Lawrence of Fairfield Monday afternoon, into fourth place in a logjammed Class A North.
In Class C North, Piscataquis of Guilford, one of the hottest teams in the region, earned perhaps its biggest win of the season on Saturday.
Coach Brian Gaw’s Pirates entered the night’s matchup with top-ranked George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill on a six-game win streak, and they extended it to seven with a 45-41 victory, handing the Eagles just their second loss.
The Pirates got a little bit of payback of sorts in the process over a GSA team that defeated PCHS 52-33 in Blue Hill on Dec. 13.
PCHS is off until Friday, when it hosts Piscataquis County rival Greenville.
Elsewhere in Class C, the Fort Kent girlins vaulted themselves into contention for a home preliminary game in handing Shead of Eastport its first loss of the season, 44-41 in overtime.
The Tigerettes are the top team in Class D North, while the Warriors’ pointworthy win over the defending Class D regional champs catapulted them one slot out of a home playoff game.
The Nos. 5 through 8 teams in Class C North will host play-in games next month.
The Warriors’ catalysts on Saturday were juniors Cassidy Lovely and Libby LaPointe, who scored 13 points apiece.
In Class AA, the Bangor girls are suddenly back in the postseason picture after going to Saco and picking up a 52-46 win over Class AA South contender Thornton Academy of Saco.
That victory vaulted coach Joe Johnson’s Rams from to fifth place in Class AA North. Six teams will qualify for the tournament.