Marshwood High School players celebrates at the buzzer as they win the Maine Girls Class A championship basketball game on Saturday at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

The Marshwood Hawks didn’t particularly like the 14-1 deficit they faced seven minutes into Saturday’s Class A girls basketball state final against Hampden Academy at Portland’s Cross Insurance Arena.

Yet they didn’t let adversity get them down.

The South Berwick team regrouped by the end of the first quarter and went on to outscore the Broncos 41-18 the rest of the way for a 42-32 victory and the program’s first gold ball since 1995.

“We were getting good shots,” coach Steve Freeman said of his team’s slow start. “We got a lot of layups that didn’t fall and a lot of looks that we normally make, and we thought if we stuck with it we were going to be fine.”

Senior forward Casey Perry scored 14 points — including her first 3-pointer of the season — and grabbed 15 rebounds to pace the Hawks. Senior guard Angelina Bisson scored eight of her 11 points after intermission while Marshwood’s defense limited Hampden to nine second-half points.

Marshwood also outrebounded Hampden 36-22, with many coming off the offensive glass to provide the Hawks numerous second chances.

“They were getting rebounds from guards, they were getting rebounds from other perimeter players, and that just extends possessions and makes you play defense longer,” Hampden coach Nick Winchester said.

Credit: Troy R. Bennett

Marshwood, which reached the state final by upending two-time defending state champion and top-seeded Greely of Cumberland Center 47-44 in the Class A South final, ended its season at 19-3.

Hampden, which was playing in its third straight state final but seeking its first gold ball since 1976, finished 20-2.

Senior forward Alydia Brillant led the Broncos with six points.

Hampden raced out to its 14-1 lead behind 3-pointers from Sydney Hodgdon, Emma Haskell, Amelia McLaughlin and Camryn Hall against Marshwood’s initial triangle-and-two defense.

The Hawks remedied that issue by switching to a player-to-player defense, but Marshwood still didn’t make its first field goal until a Perry drive with 44 seconds left in the opening quarter.

That basket was part of a 9-0 Marshwood run that brought the South champs within 14-10 on a Bisson 3-pointer with 6:03 left in the first half.

“They came out and made some shots that early on we knew we were going to give them to see if they’d make them,” Freeman said. “From there on defensively we were great.

“Sometimes it takes us time to get going offensively. Once we did I thought we were in pretty good shape.”

Perry missed time in the second quarter with a left knee injury, but the Hawks finally tied the game at 21-21 when Rori Coomey, who also missed time during the opening half with an ankle injury, returned and fed Lexi McGee for a 3-pointer.

Coomey then followed a basket from the lane by McLaughlin with a buzzer-beating jumper from the right wing to send the teams to intermission tied at 23-23.

Marshwood scored the first six points of the third quarter and never trailed again, leading 32-27 entering the final period and building its lead to as many as 11 points.

“We really wanted to get them in man-to-man matchups but what happened in that transition [from the triangle-and-two] was we became very static on the offensive end with a lot of standing around, a lot of dribbling and the ball not moving,” Winchester said.

“We became stationary and went for quick shots, and that gave them more possessions at the other end and put us on defense, and they started to convert.”

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...