AUGUSTA — Maybe there was an opportunity or two for Richmond to make it a completely different game. But that’s just a maybe, and as it turned out, every time the Bobcats had a chance to make a move, Washburn was there to take control.

In the end, Washburn defeated Richmond by the deceptive final score of 60-35 in the Class D girls basketball state final. Saturday afternoon’s win at the Augusta Civic Center gave the Beavers their second consecutive gold ball. They also defeated Richmond in last year’s final.

Mackenzie Worcester, a 5-foot-5 freshman guard, had 24 points and eight rebounds for Washburn. Olivia Doody, starting for the first time all season, added 12 points and 10 rebounds. Jamie Plummer led Richmond with 14 points, 20 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Plummer, a 6-foot junior forward, got extra attention from Washburn’s defense, and most of her 21 field goal attempts came under heavy pressure.

“We worked on a lot of help defense over the past week, watching the cuts and the screens because they always try to catch her on the move, and she has that nice move right to the basket,” Doody said. “We worked on taking that away, and just making sure we knew where she was at all times.”

While Washburn (20-1) is now a two-time state champion, it also has no seniors on its roster. That and the team’s unfamiliarity with the Augusta Civic Center may have been factors in the early going. More than three minutes into the game, the Beavers trailed 5-0, had five turnovers and just one field goal attempt.

“We’re a very young team, and I think there was a lot of nerves coming into today,” Doody said. “It’s a new court. We just had to get it out eventually, and it worked for us.”

During those opening minutes, Richmond missed a chance to alter the storyline of the game. The Bobcats missed 10 of their first 11 field goal attempts, and their 5-0 lead disappeared when Worcester scored seven quick points. Richmond was 2 for 18 in the first quarter and finished 14 of 65, or 22 percent.

“You mean the 18 layups we didn’t make in the first half?” Richmond coach Molly Bishop said. “Yup, I’d have to say that might have been an issue in the outcome of this game. There was such a mish-mosh of fouls called. I don’t think it was easy for either team to get really any flow going. They certainly did later on in the game. They’re a quick, tough team. They deserve the credit.”

Washburn continued to thrive even after 5-foot-9 forward Carsyn Koch (seven rebounds in 12 minutes of play) missed the last nine minutes of the first half after picking up her third foul. The Beavers led 21-12, only to have Richmond get it back down to 22-18. With a chance to get within two points, the Bobcats twice lost the ball in the backcourt, and Washburn led 28-21 at halftime.

“When we struggled initially, I didn’t want to get excited about that,” Washburn coach Mike Carlos said. “I figured we could work our way back.

“And we did work our way back. It was just a matter of making some shots. I thought we were rushing things. We weren’t playing the kind of basketball that we needed to play. Once we did, I thought things went well.”

The final moments of the first half were a key to the rest of the game. With under 20 seconds left in the half, Richmond had the ball and a chance to hold for the last shot. But Worcester stole the ball, and was fouled by Danica Hurley, Richmond’s senior point guard.

That was Hurley’s third foul, and when she picked up her fourth, just 57 seconds into the second half, she had to sit for more than seven minutes. By the time she returned, Washburn led 43-31 at the start of the fourth quarter.

“Danica’s a born leader,” Bishop said. “The kids look to her. It’s a comfort to have her on the floor. If you noticed, as soon as Danica came out, there were a couple of quick turnovers in the backcourt, which started to make people panic a little bit.”

With Hurley out for so long, Richmond lost its offensive flow, and couldn’t get closer than 12 points in the fourth quarter. Doody, a 6-foot junior center, scored eight of her 12 points in the fourth quarter, and she was in tears while holding the gold ball after the game.

“I was injured my first two years,” Doody said. “Freshman year, I broke my tailbone. Last year, I broke my foot. So this is my first year really playing basketball. It’s just a lot different, actually helping the team win this year.”

It was a different kind of tears for the Richmond players. But the Bobcats still finished 19-2, and graduate only Hurley and Lindsy Hoopingarner from this year’s team.

“It’s a phenomenal season for this group of kids,” Bishop said. “Where else do you want to end up? Isn’t this the goal, is to get to this game?”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

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