A battle of 12-1 girls basketball juggernauts took place on Red Barry Gym at Bangor High School on Saturday afternoon as the Brunswick Dragons, the top squad in Class A South, battled the Rams, the top team in AA North.
Both teams played Friday night and had to turn around and get ready for the rescheduled showdown of top teams. On Saturday, it was Brunswick that used a strong third quarter to earn a 46-30 victory. It’s Brunswick’s sixth win in a row.
Bangor started the second half with a 16-14 lead, but right out of the gates the Dragons came out on fire.
Brunswick had four players make a 3-pointer after Dakota Shipley hit two in the second quarter. The fifth player to score in the third was Maddy Werner, who came back after a hard fall in the second quarter to score six of her eight points in the third quarter.
“We looked at the first half and neither team shot very well,” Bangor coach Jay Kemble said. “We didn’t make some shots in the third and that allowed them to extend the lead and in the fourth we had to change what we usually do on offense. They outplayed us in every way and credit to them.”
Bangor suddenly found itself down 24-18 before a 3-pointer from Cassidy Ireland brought the game back within three points for the Rams. It would end up being the only triple the Rams could make as the Brunswick defense rotated quickly to the ball all game.
After the third, Brunswick had a 34-25 lead and continued to play stifling defense in the fourth. Bangor wouldn’t score in the fourth quarter until 4:15 left in the game when Ireland scored a layup, followed by Emmie Streams hitting two free throws immediately after stealing the ball on the ensuing inbounds.
After Bangor’s quick four points the Dragons still led 36-29. On Brunswick’s next offensive possession Werner scored at the hoop again. The quick answer was indicative of both team’s play in the second half.
Streams was a focus for the Dragons.
“I thought our defense was phenomenal, I don’t think Streams really got anything today,” Brunswick coach Sam Farrell said. “We haven’t been here since 2015, none of the girls have played here so it took us a little bit to adjust and I thought they did a great job.”
Streams, who will play for the University of Maine women’s basketball team next year, was held to just two made free throws that came late in the fourth.
Bangor’s great post player Abbie Quinn, who entered the game averaging 15.8 points per game, was held to just eight against Brunswick. She grabbed nine rebounds on Saturday, down from her 12.8 per-game average.
“We had to know where she was and make her move, but not over-play inside because they move the ball really well,” Farrell said of Quinn. “If we could contest every outside shot, that would make it hard.”
Dakota Shipley led Brunswick with 14 points with Alexis Morin following with 12.
“In the second half, it was to go to our leaders and let them lead,” Farrell added. “Kelsie Carlton and Maddy Werner and Dakota, it was just play with our leaders and do it together.”
It was a low-scoring first quarter as both teams shook the cobwebs off of the games played the night before, leading to a 6-4 Bangor lead after eight minutes.
Abbie Quinn, Class AA North’s leader in rebounds, grabbed three boards and scored four points in the first period while Taylor Coombs scored the other basket for the Rams.
Alexis Morin got to the free throw line twice in the first quarter scoring two points. Dakota Shipley added a bucket, as well.
The second quarter sped up on both ends and Bangor started to move the ball quicker and more efficiently.
On three plays in a row midway through the second quarter, Streams, Carmen Maddix and Quinn all found Coombs on the block, who turned and scored three layups in a row to give Bangor a 16-9 lead with two minutes to halftime.
Coombs got into foul trouble and missed much of the third before fouling out in the fourth. She’d finish with 10 points.
“Taylor brings a lot of energy and rebounding so losing her certainly hurt,” Kemble said. “Their size advantage was a little bit of an issue today.”
Shipley answered for the Dragons with one of her two 3-pointers in the quarter and dragged Brunswick to within 16-14 at the half.
Bangor hosts Hampden on Wednesday, Feb. 1.