HAMPDEN, Maine — For the first time since late December, the Hampden Academy girls basketball team had its full complement of players for its Class AA North quarterfinal against visiting Lewiston on Thursday night.
Sixth seeded Lewiston was without three starters due to a flu outbreak, including leading scorer Natalie Beaudoin (12.9 points per game) and No. 3 scorer Ellie Legare (6.9 ppg). The Broncos took advantage by posting a 40-20 victory at the Hampden Academy gym.
Bella McLaughlin had 12 points and Camryn Neal added 11 to pace the Broncos.
Aiwen Maiwen’s seven points and 11 rebounds led Lewiston and Koral Morin added six points and three rebounds.
The sixth-seeded Blue Devils were without three starters due to a flu outbreak, including leading scorer selection Natalie Beaudoin (12.9 points per game) and No. 3 scorer and fellow All-Rookie team pick Ellie Legare (6.9 ppg), so the third-seeded Broncos eventually pulled away from the gritty and hard-working Blue Devils 40-20.
Beaudoin was chosen to the Class AA North second team and was also an All-Rookie team pick along with Legare.
Hampden Academy, 14-5, will now face second seed Cheverus of Portland, 15-3, in Wednesday’s semifinal at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.
Top seed Oxford Hills, 17-2, and No. 4 Bangor, 13-6, will meet in the other semifinal at 3:45.`
Lewiston wound up 8-11 including three losses to Hampden Academy.
The Broncos had beaten the Blue Devils 45-33 at home and 50-31 on the road.
Junior point guard Bella McLaughlin scored 12 points to lead the Broncos and senior guard Camryn Neal had 11. McLaughlin also had three steals. Lauren Voteur scored eight points, Taylor Gardner had five and Lucy Wiles scored four points and grabbed four rebounds.
Taya Archer pulled down five rebounds.
Junior center Aiwen Maiwen’s seven points and game-high 11 rebounds led Lewiston and sophomore guard Koral Morin added six points and three rebounds. Kaura Lawrence had seven rebounds and Abigail Beaucage had five.
The Broncos led by just 10 at the half, 20-10, but outscored the undermanned Blue Devils 13-2 in the third quarter to punch their ticket to the semis.
Their swarming man-to-man pressure forced a ton of turnovers.
“Not our best basketball, for sure, but we’ll convert that to Cheverus,” said McLaughllin, who has verbally committed to play at Providence College and was chosen a first team All-Class AA North selection . “We did what we needed to get done.
“They played solid. For not having three starters, I was impressed,” McLaughlin added. “We defended decent but they were getting by us. They did well.”
The Broncos shot just 27.6 percent from the floor in the first half and made just one 3-pointer.
So Hampden Academy coach Nick Winchester told his players at halftime to “get the ball to the rim and let’s play downhill a little bit more and we did a better job of that in the second half.”
“We realized we weren’t hitting our outside shots so we did what we were doing best which was getting the ball inside,” sophomore forward Voteur said. “We started hitting more shots, getting more confidence and our game went up from there.”
Winchester said his team shot eight percent beyond the 3-point arc but 46 percent from two-point range.
“We have never had a strong quarterfinal game in my four years of tournament play,” Winchester said. “Being a tournament game, I don’t think our kids played as free and easy as they could have.
“Lewiston didn’t quit. They competed the whole game. [Head coach Craig Jipson] does a good job with them,” Winchester added.
“I thought our character was excellent,” Lewiston head coach Craig Jipson said. “We did a nice job, defensively. Aiwen did a real nice job rebounding the ball and Koral took care of the ball well. I just wish we could have made a few more shots.”
“It was really tough tonight,” Maiwen said. “We knew this was going to be our last game so we had to give it our all.
“Everyone played really hard. I was proud of them,” Maiwen added. “Hampden is very talented.”
She admitted that she was tired at the end of the game but said “it was definitely worth it to have this experience with all these girls.”