The Bangor High School Rams girls basketball team made a statement on Friday night.
The Rams reeled off a 13-0 run in the third quarter to build a 20-point lead and held off a furious fourth-quarter rally by defending State AA champ Cheverus of Portland to earn a season-opening 52-44 victory at the Red Barry Gym.
Senior center Abbie Quinn scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds to pace the Rams. She also had four assists and three steals.
Bangor Daily News All-Maine second team senior point guard Emmie Streams had 10 points, three rebounds and four assists.
Cassidy Ireland had six points.
Emily Adams and Carmen Maddix came off the bench and scored five points each in limited minutes.
All-Maine first teamer Maddie Fitzpatrick’s 14 points, nine rebounds and two steals led Cheverus and second-teamer Emma Lizotte netted 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds. She also blocked four shots and dished out four assists.
South Portland transfer Ruth Boles had nine points in her Cheverus debut.
“The kids did a tremendous job all the way around,” said Bangor coach Jay Kemble. “They competed. The nine kids who got in tonight all did something to help us be successful.”
Bangor rattled off 10 straight points after Megan Dearborn hit a 15-foot jumper to open the game’s scoring for Cheverus and the Rams never trailed.
Quinn sank a pair of free throws and popped in an offensive rebound before Streams hit a layup and Quinn capped the flurry by scoring off another offensive rebound and converting a Taylor Coombs pass inside.
Bangor built a 10-point lead early in the second period before Cheverus went on an 11-4 run to pull within 21-18.
But Streams hit a three and Quinn fed Ireland for a short jumper before Lizotte fed Jaelyn Jensen for a 10-footer to close out the half as the Rams took a 26-20 lead into the intermission.
Bangor strung together its 13-point run in the third quarter thanks to a pair of 3-pointers by Ireland and another by Coombs. Bangor went 3-for-4 from long distance during that spurt.
Quinn and Streams had two-point baskets as Bangor took a 42-22 lead with 2:12 left in the period and entered the fourth quarter with a 44-27 lead.
But juniors Fitzpatrick and Lizotte rallied the Stags in the fourth quarter with seven points apiece.
Fitzpatrick scored seven straight points to pull Cheverus within 50-41 with 2:40 left but she fouled out with 2:20 left and the Rams were able to hold on.
Lizotte was also in foul trouble with four.
“This was a great way to start the season,” Quinn said. “We wanted it more. We came out aggressive and had the right mindset.”
Fitzpatrick said the Rams’ pressure defense forced them to speed up on offense “and we got a little out of control.”
She said they were more efficient on offense when they slowed things down and were patient.
She also said the Rams hurt them on the boards.
“We didn’t box out. Abbie Quinn must have had seven offensive rebounds in the first half. They were getting second-chance points and we were only getting one shot and they weren’t the best of shots,” Fitzpatrick said.
Streams said the Rams played “really well. We worked really hard and hit shots when we needed to.”
Streams, who will be a teammate of Fitzpatrick’s at the University of Maine, said they focused on shutting down Lizotte and Fitzpatrick.
“We were going to force their other players to beat us,” she said.
UMaine head women’s basketball coach Amy Vachon was on hand to watch her future Black Bears.
Both Bangor and Cheverus are legitimate Class AA contenders with strong supporting casts to go with their dynamic duos of Quinn/Streams and Fitzpatrick/Lizotte.