Forest Hills coach Mike LeBlanc looks at Washburn, and sees a team much like his own.
Well, sort of.
“They’re Forest Hills on steroids,” LeBlanc said. “They’re a little bit stronger, a little bit bigger, a littler bit quicker.”
Washburn (20-2) has won three consecutive state titles, while Forest Hills (21-0) is playing in its first state final since winning the Gold Ball in 1997. They meet at 1:05 p.m., Saturday, at the Augusta Civic Center, for the Class D girls basketball championship.
Washburn coach Diana Trams said she watched Forest Hills on video and counted one game where the Tigers attempted 35 3-pointers. Forest Hills set a Western D girls record by making 22 3-pointers in three games in Augusta. The Tigers have no one taller than 5 foot 7, while Washburn’s tallest player is 5-9.
“I thought that they were a very scrappy, athletic team with a lot of similarities to our style,” Trams said. “We’ve played some teams that had a couple of quick guards. We’ve played some teams that had a shooter that we needed to keep an eye on. But I don’t think we’ve really played anyone like Forest Hills this season.”
Both teams get scoring from a variety of sources. For Washburn, Carsyn Koch — a four-time Class C individual state champion in cross country — is joined by Mackenzie Worcester, Nicole Olson, and Carmen Bragg.
For Forest Hills, Kori Coro was 11 for 19 on 3-pointers in the Western D tournament, while Dana McNally, Keely Taylor, Haley Cuddy, and Anna Carrier can also score.
Both teams will run, although Washburn probably gets more points off of its defense. The Beavers have run some teams right off the floor, and Trams estimates they shot 65 percent as a team in a playoff win against Machias, because of all the steals and layups. Washburn is averaging 72.7 points per game this season, and won its three games in Bangor by an average of 30.3 points.
“They get up and down the floor, and they are in your face in the full court, the three-quarter court, and the halfcourt,” LeBlanc said. “Their defense predicates everything they do.
“We’ve got to be able to survive the first quarter, and take care of the basketball. Every game they’ve had (in the tournament), they’ve been up by 18 or 20 points at the end of the first quarter.”
With three seniors and four juniors, Washburn has some players who are used to the atmosphere in Augusta. The Beavers defeated Richmond for the state title there in 2012.
“Regardless of the venue, the girls just want to play,” Trams said. “I think with the Civic Center being the regular size floor that we play on, there’s some potential for our trapping defense to be more effective in a smaller space. But I think what it’s going to come down to is which team is more effective in what they’re trying to do.”