AUGUSTA — It was not pretty and that is just the way the Richmond girls basketball team likes it.

The fourth-seeded Bobcats held No. 9 Vinalhaven to 28 percent shooting and forced 21 turnovers to score a 35-28 win in the Western Class D semifinals Friday afternoon at the Augusta Civic Center.

“That’s how we do it,” Richmond coach Mike Ladner said. “We grind it out, play good defense and we look to score off transition.”

The Bobcats — who will play Rangeley for the Western D title Saturday at 10 a.m. — got a nice defensive effort from reserve center Emily Douin with starters Kelsey Anair and Sydney Tilton in foul trouble, while sophomore point guard Meranda Martin had an outstanding all-around game. Martin finished with eight points, five rebounds, two assists, two blocks, eight steals and zero turnovers.

“That’s all we do in practice is work on our defense,” Martin said. “(Ladner) preaches to us every practice, every game defense wins games. We played a little bit too aggressive (Friday), we got in a little bit of foul trouble but we pulled through.”

It was not long before Anair found herself in foul trouble, but fortunately for the Bobcats, Tilton stepped up in her stead in the opening half. The 5-foot-8 freshman had six points and seven rebounds in the first half but more importantly played sound defense on Vinalhaven’s top player, freshman Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes.


“I’m her friend and we’ve spent quite some time together, but she’s an amazing freshman. That’s a huge challenge for me coming in and defending her,” Tilton, who finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds, said. “It’s always fun to play her. She challenges me and makes me better as a player and I like that.”

Behind the play of Tilton and Martin, the Bobcats built a 20-14 lead by halftime but with 5:46 to play in the third, Anair picked up her fourth foul. Douin — who saw little time at the start of the season and slowly worked her way into the rotation — was there for her team though.

“She’s improved a lot,” Ladner said. “She’s a role player, but she knows her role and does it well.”

Davis-Oakes — who had 24 points in the Vikings’ quarterfinal upset of No. 1 Pine Tree — was held to just a single point in the third quarter. Even after Tilton picked up her fourth early in the fourth and was also forced to the bench, Douin continued to keep the freshman standout in check.

“She stepped up and she played ‘D,'” Tilton said. “She kept (Davis-Oakes) to a minimum amount of points and she shined today. I’m proud of her.”

The Vikings did make things a little interesting after cutting the deficit to just four points with 1 minute, 5 seconds remaining, but a basket from Anair with 44.7 second to go closed the door on another potential Vinalhaven upset.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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