AUGUSTA — Beat the Bangor High School boys basketball team once in a season, and you’re doing something right. Beat the Rams twice, and you’re in rare company. Beating Bangor three times is next to impossible. On Saturday night at the Augusta Civic Center, Lawrence couldn’t quite pull off the feat.

After losing a pair of regular season games to the Bulldogs, Bangor pulled away in the fourth quarter of their Eastern Maine Class A quarterfinal game. The Rams held Lawrence to three points in the fourth, advancing to the semifinals with a 48-31 win.

No. 5 Bangor (14-5) will face No. 1 Hampden Academy (18-1) on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. No. 4 Lawrence end the season at 12-7.

“We put in a few more balls in the basket than we did when we played them at Bangor (a 37-22 loss),” Bangor coach Roger Reed said. “I just knew we couldn’t play that bad again.”

Bangor led by nine points late in the third quarter, before Lawrence rallied to make it close. Spencer Carey’s 5-foot jumper seconds into the fourth quarter cut Bangor’s lead to 32-30, but with chances to tie or take the lead, Lawrence missed four straight free throws.

“If we get up by two or four points there, maybe they (Bangor) start doubting themselves,” Lawrence coach Mike McGee said. “We knew it would be a daunting task to beat them again.”

Bangor scored the last seven points of the game, all from the line. Neither team shot free throws well. Lawrence was just 5 for 16 at the line, while Bangor was 12 for 24. While Patrick Stewart (17 points) was 6 for 8 for the Rams, the rest of the team was 6 for 16.

Reed said his team played better defense than in the previous two games against Lawrence, forcing the Bulldogs to take shots from the perimeter.

“I thought we cut down on their penetration, and that made a difference,” Reed said.

Bangor scored the last five points of the first half, and Xavier Lewis’ 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer gave the Rams a 24-18 halftime lead.

“Our last possession, we miss a three, and they make a three,” McGee said. “I thought that was a big key to the game.”

Most of Lawrence’s first half offense came from the outside. The Bulldogs hit four 3-pointers in the first half. All three of Lawrence’s first quarter field goals were from behind the arc, and Alex Leathers made a three early in the second quarter to tie the game at 12-12.

Carey led Lawrence with 12 points. Lawrence graduates six seniors.

“This was a great group of kids to coach,” McGee said. “The nicest bunch of kids you’ll want to see.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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