Hampden Academy's Bella McLaughlin brings the ball down the floor at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022, during the girls basketball Class AA North semifinal game. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Despite plenty of opportunities, the Hampden Academy girls basketball team failed to convert and dropped its Class AA North semifinal game against Cheverus 35-25 at the Cross Insurance Arena on Wednesday. 

Cheverus improves its record to 16-3 and will face No. 1 Oxford Hills (18-2) in the AA North finals, Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Arena. Oxford Hills defeated Bangor 50-45 Wednesday afternoon to advance to the regional finals.

Hampden ends its season 14-6.

Hampden Academy’s Taylor Gardner looks to pass the ball at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022, during the girls basketball Class AA North semifinal game. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN
Hampden Academy’s Bella McLaughlin passes the ball at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022, during the girls basketball Class AA North semifinal game. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Cheverus was paced by sophomore forward Emma Lizotte and senior guard Lillian Singleton, each with 10 points. Sophomore Madigan Fitzpatrick added seven points, and seniors Maeve Kelly and Hayley Jordan added five and three, respectively.

Senior forward Emma Haskell scored 10 points for the Broncos. Junior Bella McLaughlin scored five, sophomore Lucy Wiles four and senior Taylor Gardner three.

Cheverus jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead until sophomore forward Lauren Voteur opened the scoring for Hampden with a 3-pointer with 3:51 left in the first quarter. 

Hampden was shutout in the second quarter. Cheverus led 13-5 at halftime.

Cheverus’ Kelly opened the third quarter with a quick layup, and Haskell netted two 3-pointers for Hampden to get the score as close as 19-16 with less than two minutes left in the third. 

But a long Jordan 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Cheverus a 25-18 lead going into the fourth. 

“That was a back-breaker,” said Hampden Academy coach Nick Winchester. “We had an open three but it hit the rim and Jordan caught the ball, took three dribbles and hit the three just one or two strides over half-court.

“That was a six-point swing. That was brutal. And, to boot, they got the ball to open the fourth quarter,” he added.

Hampden Academy’s Emma Haskell brings the ball up the floor at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022, during the girls basketball Class AA North semifinal game. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Winchester said his team played great defense throughout the game as the Broncos held Cheverus to a season-low 35 points.

“But we just could not buy a basket. We got great looks all over the floor. We shot 2-for-21 in the first half,” said Winchester, whose team wound up shooting 23 percent for the game. “If you had told me before the game we would hold Cheverus to 13 points in the first half, I would have expected us to be up by seven.”

The Broncos had been in Class A and were the defending three-time Class A North titleist until moving up to Class AA North this season.

Hampden Academy’s Camryn Neal looks to pass the ball at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022, during the girls basketball Class AA North semifinal game. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN
Hampden Academy players hug after their loss in the girls basketball Class AA North semifinal game at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

No. 3 Hampden Academy reached the semifinals by virtue of a 40-20 quarterfinal win over a flu-riddled sixth-seeded Lewiston High team while Cheverus eliminated No. 7 Portland 72-45.

Cheverus entered its semifinal with seven wins in its last nine games while Hampden Academy won six of its last eight.

Cheverus beat Hampden Academy 46-29 in their only regular season encounter in Portland on Jan. 26.

Cheverus had only reached the semifinals once, in 2018. Oxford Hills eliminated the Stags in that semifinal 59-49 that year.