BANGOR — This season, many of Richmond’s opponents focused their efforts on trying to contain star center Jamie Plummer.

Washburn didn’t try anything like that. The Beavers were so strong defensively, they could just do their thing.

Plummer led Richmond on two second-half runs, but Washburn’s defense forced a total of 42 turnovers, and the Beavers won their third straight Gold Ball, defeating Richmond, 75-55, in the Class D girls basketball state final Saturday afternoon at the Bangor Auditorium.

“Richmond really gave us a run for our money,” Washburn coach Diana Trams said. “They played us tougher than probably anybody all year.”

It was the third consecutive year Washburn beat the Bobcats in the state final. Plummer, a senior, finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds for the Bobcats, and Ciarra Lancaster and freshman guard Kelsea Anair each added 10 points. Sophomore Mackenzie Worcester led Washburn with 20 points, including the 1,000th of her career. Carmen Bragg (16 points) and Nicole Olson (14) also had big games for the Beavers.

Richmond committed 12 turnovers in the first quarter, and trailed 15-2 at one point. After not employing a press on Richmond’s first couple possessions, the Beavers switched to their 1-3-1 halfcourt trap and used it for most of the rest of the game.

The Bobcats rushed their passes a little bit too much in the first quarter, and the athletic Washburn players were there to deflect the ball to a teammate. Richmond shot a fine 43 percent from the floor, but was minus-25 in turnovers for the game.

“I think our girls work best when they can trap the ball,” Trams said. “Sometimes man-to-man isn’t as successful for us — we tried that a little bit, and I thought they beat us to the basket a couple times. Our 1-3-1 halfcourt trap has been our go-to throughout the season, and that’s what they do well.”

The Bobcats ran off seven straight points, but Washburn still led 20-9 after one quarter. That was pretty much how the rest of the game went: Richmond would make a run, and then the Beavers would re-establish control. Trailing 26-11, Richmond battled back within 29-19, only to have Washburn build the lead back to 36-21 at the half. Anair had eight of Richmond’s 12 points in the second quarter.

“We’d make our runs, we’d get a little momentum going, and they’d answer us,” Richmond coach Molly Bishop said.

Washburn sophomore Joan Overman was also a problem for the Bobcats. Until the 1:04 mark of the third quarter, the 5-foot-8 Overman was the only non-starter Trams put in the game. But she did the work of three subs, leaping over the crowd to grab rebounds and twisting for bank shots. Overman finished with nine points and nine rebounds.

Washburn had a 40-25 lead early in the third quarter when starter Carsyn Koch sat down with her fourth foul. Plummer began asserting herself more inside, and Payton Johnson banked in a 3-pointer and Plummer hit a fast-break layup to cap a 7-0 Richmond run in 45 seconds and get the Bobcats within 40-32. Plummer finished with 11 points and nine rebounds in the third quarter alone, although Bishop said there was no change in the game plan to feed her inside more often.

“I’d love to take the credit for it, but (Jamie) did that all on her own,” Bishop said. “Our bigger people were moving a little bit more. She was stepping in when it was open.”

After the Bobcats missed a 3-pointer that would have closed them within five points, Worcester tossed in a short hook shot while being bumped and ended up with a three-point play. That put her at the 1,000-point mark.

“She did it in style,” Trams said. “That’s typical of Mackenzie — taking it to the basket and creating her opportunities there.”

Worcester basket and free throw sparked an 11-0 Washburn run for a 51-32 edge. Once again, Richmond drew close, cutting the deficit to 60-50 with 4:04 left in the fourth quarter. Over the next two minutes, the Beavers went on a 7-0 run and finally put the game away.

Plummer, Johnson, and Lancaster are three of seven seniors out of 13 players on the Richmond roster. The others are Noell Acord, Emily Leavitt, Alyssa Peasron, and Brianna Snedeker.

“They’re seven of the easiest kids I’ve ever coached, and seven of the hardest kids I’ve ever coached,” Bishop said. “They set the bar higher for me than anybody else has. They’re fun. They love each other. They’re one big family.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243
[email protected]

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