AUGUSTA. Maine — The top-ranked Hampden Academy girls basketball team actually allowed two more points during its Class A North semifinal victory over Lawrence of Fairfield than it did during its quarterfinal win over Gardiner.
But the vibe after Wednesday’s 42-31 victory over No. 4 Lawrence of Fairfield at the Augusta Civic Center was much more positive than after the Broncos’ first-round survival of a pesky No. 8 seed.
“I think we were all a lot more confident than we were in our first game,” said Hampden senior guard Brooklyn Scott. “Just coming out here and winning again was huge.”
Winning is nothing new for the Broncos, who take an 18-2 record into Friday night’s regional final against defending state champion Messalonskee of Oakland. The third-ranked Eagles (13-6) edged No. 2 Skowhegan 52-49 in the day’s first semifinal.
Hampden, which yielded just 36.6 points per game during the regular season, has allowed 30 points per game through its first two tournament outings.
“It’s been our hallmark all season long,” said Broncos’ coach Nick Winchester. “Our defense will lead to offense, our defense will keep us in games when our offense is struggling.
“We don’t worry about matchups,” he added. “Any one of our kids can guard any of the positions on the floor and that’s a real luxury when you can do that defensively.”
That was evident against a Lawrence team against which Hampden had a height advantage at every position, particularly with 6-foot-3 junior Bailey Donovan at center.
Fourth-ranked Lawrence, which had split two regular-season games against Hampden this winter, was largely relegated to the perimeter offensively in the third meeting. And the Bulldogs couldn’t make enough shots to mount a serious threat after Hampden jumped out to a 13-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Lawrence (12-8) shot just 21 percent (11 of 53) from the field.
Hampden also was more effective using its height offensively than it had been in its 37-29 quarterfinal win over Gardiner by working the ball inside for either high-percentage shots or kicking the ball back out for perimeter opportunities.
Donovan had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the balanced Broncos while frontcourt mate Sophia Narofsky added 10 points and seven boards. Scott and sophomore Alydia Brillant contributed six points each, with Scott also grabbing 10 rebounds.
“We were a little timid game one. I think everybody is, it’s a lot,” said Narofsky. “We really settled in (Wednesday) and it paid off. We’re excited.”
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