RICHMOND — Win or lose, the Richmond girls basketball team needed a test Tuesday night.
The two-time defending Western Maine Class D champions got one from Old Orchard Beach, one of the top teams in Western Maine Class C. The visiting Seagulls pulled away in the fourth quarter following back-to-back 3-pointers from Daphne Allen and Christina Coleman for a 52-46 victory.
“When was the last time we played in a close game?” Richmond coach Molly Bishop asked. “We don’t know how to react to the pressure when the score is within five.”
The win solidifies third place in the Western Maine Class C standings for the Seagulls (13-4) while Richmond (13-3) will likely remain in second in Western Maine Class D.
Sophomore Abby Dubois led Old Orchard with 18 points while senior Jamie Plummer scored 18 for the Bobcats. Like the first meeting between the teams — a 55-48 win by the Seagulls — this one was close the whole way. Old Orchard led 43-39 with just over three minutes left when Allen hit a 3 from the left side and Coleman (11 points) followed with another one from the left corner to make it 49-39. The Bobcats got no closer than six points the rest of the way.
“(We’ve shown) great improvement,” Coleman said. “We’re all moving the ball and our sophomores have stepped up. It’s great to see.”
Free throw shooting and turnovers hurt Richmond’s chances. The Bobcats shot 9 for 21 from the line and committed 25 turnovers, some against OOB pressure and some not.
“We forced the ball into situations where we shouldn’t have,” Bishop said.
The Seagulls barely shot .500 from the foul line (22-for-41) but had many more chances, getting into the 1 and 1 bonus early in both halves. They lost point guard Haley Plante in the first minute of play when she turned an ankle.
“We were down our point guard from a torn ACL in the beginning of the year, then Haley went down,” Old Orchard coach Dean Plante said. “That’s two good point guards. What we got was kids to step up with the ball in their hands. Abby Dubois, Christina and Anna Foss in particular did a nice job.”
The Seagulls led 20-12 following three straight baskets from Dubois in the second quarter, but the Bobcats narrowed the gap to 20-19 by the half as Alyssa Pearson scored seven of her 10 points for the game in a three-minute span. The Bobcats gained their final lead of the game, 28-27, when Plummer converted a rebound midway through the third quarter, but they would never lead after that.
Plummer finished with 16 rebounds but Coleman guarded her most of the night and held her to seven points below her average despite giving away four inches in height to the 6-foot center.
“You’ve just got to front her in the post and get some help behind you,” Coleman said.
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638