AUGUSTA — Not only did Bangor’s Mary Butler and Cordelia Stewart do what people expect from 6-footers, freshman Sarah Bragg did what Skowhegan didn’t expect her to do.
Butler and Stewart are impressive sophomores, and combined for 33 points and 22 rebounds against the Indians. Bragg scored 16 points herself, and almost single-handedly kept Skowhegan from focusing its defensive attention inside.
The result was that Bangor pulled away in the second half for a 61-48 victory in an Eastern A quarterfinal Friday afternoon at the Augusta Civic Center.
No. 2 Bangor (15-4) will now play No. 3 Mt. Ararat at 2:30 p.m., Wednesday in the semifinals. No. 7 Skowhegan finishes its season at 9-10.
“Skowhegan played great defense inside. They double- and triple-teamed our post players,” Bangor coach Katie Herbine said. “In the second half we did a much better job inside-outside game. As soon as (the ball) goes inside we wanted to get it out as quick as we can.”
Behind Stewart (17 points, 9 rebounds) and Butler (16 points, 13 rebounds), Bangor held a 35-16 edge on the boards.
“We didn’t do a bad job on the first shots, but they got a lot of second-chance opportunities,” Skowhegan coach Heath Cowan said. “They rebound the ball like crazy.”
The Rams led 8-1 in the early going and were overpowering Skowhegan inside. Skowhegan moved outside and connected on four 3-pointers in the first half. The Indians led 13-11 late in the first quarter and were still behind only 29-25 at the half.
But while the Indians held Stewart and Butler to a combined four points in the second quarter, Bragg was making the most of her open shots. She scored 10 points in the first half, on 4 of 6 shooting.
“That wasn’t anything we scouted for,” Cowan said. “We tried to build a fort around the basket.”
Skowhegan adjusted in the third quarter, but Stewart took over, scoring 15 of her 17 points after the break. Bangor was ahead 45-34 after three quarters, and Skowhegan didn’t threaten in the fourth.
“We played some good defense and continued to move the ball,” Herbine said. “It doesn’t hurt to be that big inside.”
Bangor held Skowhegan to six of 23 shooting in the second half. Desiree Brochu led the Indians with 10 points, while Morgan Buker and AJ Martineau had eight apiece.
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