AUGUSTA — Richmond senior Jamie Plummer was quiet and contained in a sluggish first half Saturday afternoon in the Western D girls championship game against rival Rangeley.
She was loud and explosive in a dominant second half, which made all the difference in a 48-36 victory that propelled the Bobcats into the Class D title game for a third consecutive year.
“It means the world,” Plummer said. “This is what we’re here to do. We’re so blessed to go back to a third straight state championship. It feels amazing.”
Plummer scored 11 of her 15 points in the second half and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead No. 2 Richmond (17-3), which led just 19-17 at the half before breaking things open in the second half.
Ciarra Lancaster also scored 15 points while Noell Acord added seven for the Bobcats, who will meet Washburn at 1:05 p.m. Saturday at the Bangor Auditorium in the Class D state final. Washburn (21-0) beat Richmond each in the previous two state championships game.
“It just feels great,” Lancaster said. “We had to step it up, and we did that.”
Top-seeded Rangeley, which led just once (3-2), finished 19-2. Abby Abbott scored 12 points and Blayke Morin added 10 points and as many rebounds to lead the Lakers. Tori Letarte finished with nine points as well.
But Seve Deery-DeRaps and Taylor Esty, two consistent scoring threats this week at the Augusta Civic Center, combined for just six points.
“I feel like offensively we had some people who usually perform for us and they didn’t,” said Rangeley coach Heidi Deery, whose team made just nine field goals. “They’re young. We needed some offense out of some people and we didn’t get it. We couldn’t get anything going.”
Neither team did early.
Rangeley made just one field goal in the first quarter and, despite Plummer’s early struggles, quickly fell behind 16-7.
Then it was Richmond’s turn to go cold. The Bobcats shot 1-for-11 from the field in the second quarter and headed for the locker room up 19-17.
“We kept it close in the first half,” said Esty, who grabbed nine rebounds.
And that, Deery added, was the goal from the get-go.
“I felt good coming out of halftime,” she said. “We were right where we wanted to be. I just wanted to hang around long enough that they started pressuring themselves.”
It didn’t happen.
Lancaster scored seven points in the opening three minutes of the quarter, including a 3-pointer, and the Bobcats were off and running. Lancaster scored eight points in the third.
“In the second half we had to step it up and we wanted to get the ball inside,” she said.
Added Bishop: “We didn’t let up. Once things started separating a little bit in the third quarter, I think the girls got pretty confident.”
The confidence carried over into the third, when Plummer took over.
She scored two quick baskets on offensive-rebound putbacks as Richmond stretched its lead into double digits, 37-27 about midway through the quarter.
“A couple times I was just open,” she said. “I was able to get my feet set and get off a good shot. I tried to box out on the weak side and tried get the the putback. Our intensity slipped up a little bit we had to try to pick that back up in the second half and we were able to do that.”
Plummer then sank a 3-pointer from the wing with 2 minutes, 40 seconds left in the fourth to give Richmond a 44-31 lead.
“We started out just really defending (the) front of her,” Deery said. “It was a real physical game, I thought. There was a whole lot of contact on both hands. We controlled the boards until the fourth quarter. They got some easy looks there in the fourth quarter.”
Added Bishop: “We didn’t foul as much in the second half. The rest of the kids were eager to step up. We just put the ball in the basket.”
Bill Stewart — 621-5640