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Legacy of fallen icon continues in Bengal Athletes

Published: January 27, 2020
Fort Kent, ME -

On Sunday afternoon, the sporting world mourned the loss of an icon in Kobe Bryant. Kobe was much more than just one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He was an Academy Award winner, a mentor, a husband, a father, and a friend. He was a relentless competitor, a highly motivated athlete who demonstrated an indomitable will and a voracious hunger to be the best not only on the basketball court but in other life ventures. He was an athlete whose “Mamba Mentality” of determination inspired athletes of all sports across the world and was an inspiration for anyone who had a burning desire to be the best in what they did.

Shortly before the news regarding Kobe broke on Sunday afternoon, the Lady Bengals basketball team, with only six healthy players, was set to tip off with the defending USCAA National Champion Central Maine College Mustangs, who came to Fort Kent with a record of 14-1. The odds were stacked against the Bengals as the previous day, they went down to the wire with the Fisher Falcons, losing in the final seconds in what was a grueling game. The Bengals knew that the high-pressure defense of Central Maine would be an issue, especially considering their low numbers, but they banded together, handled the pressure, and came away with the victory, knocking off the top-ranked team in the USCAA.

The Bengals, fueled by the mistakes of their previous game, started out hot and jumped out to an early 14-0 lead to start the game. The Mustangs coach chose not to take a timeout to stop the bleeding, and the Bengals were able to keep a solid 12 to 20-point lead throughout the game despite a Mustang roster that included 16 people who played hard and applied a ton of defensive pressure during the game. Ranika “The Rocket” Guyton did her best Kobe impression down the stretch, icing the game for UMFK. On back-to-back possessions, Guyton perfectly executed behind-the-back dribble moves that almost made her defenders fall over and knocked down jump shots with another defender draped all over her; very reminiscent of Kobe in his prime. The Bengals won 71-60 and would have made Kobe proud with the mental toughness the team exhibited in the win.

Saturday was not a great day for Bengal Basketball as the Fisher Falcons came to town and beat the Bengals on their home floor. The Women’s game came down to the final few possessions but the Bengals were not able to execute in crunch time. In the Men’s game, the physicality of the visiting team bothered UMFK, and the poor shooting from the Bengals plagued them, leading to a 72-58 defeat. On a brighter note, during the Fisher game, Savana Jankowski scored her 1000th point as a Bengal, cementing her place in history as one of the best to ever don a Bengal uniform.

On Thursday evening in Augusta, ME, both teams matched up with the Fighting Moose of U-Maine Augusta and put up triple-digit scoring efforts. The Men’s team scored 110 points to Augusta’s 69; Logan Miller led the way with 24 points, and four other Bengals scored in double digits. Jaequan McNeal must have been feeling lucky as he racked up seven assists to go with seven rebounds. The Women’s team scored 100 even in their victory behind a career-high from Sophia Rodriquez’s 15 points.

The Track & Field Program went international with it as they competed Friday and Saturday at the McGill Team Challenge in Montreal.

Strong showings from Grace Johnson (6th Place HJ – 1.30m and SR – 1000m – 3:50.71), Vinnette Blake (PR – 60m – 8.90), and Olivia Picard (PR – Shot Put – 7.40m) led the way for the women. On the men’s side, Rajay Maragh (PR – Shot Put – 8.19m) and Xavier Denis (SR – 1000m – 3:34.81) were top performers for the Bengals. Other performances of note were Mandy Graham’s 3k (11:30.50) and 1500m (5:20.78), both of which established new school records for the team.

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