AUGUSTA — After watching the majority of the Lawrence High School girls basketball team’s march to the Class A state title from the bench last year, Camryn Caldwell entered this season’s tournament hoping to leave her own mark at the Augusta Civic Center.

The sophomore sharpshooter did not waste any time in doing so.

Caldwell scored Lawrence’s first eight points in a 12-0 run to open the game as the top-seeded Bulldogs blitzed No. 9 Skowhegan Area High School 63-33 in a Class A North quarterfinal Friday night at the Augusta Civic Center.

Caldwell — who only saw limited minutes at the end of some games in last year’s tournament — finished with 18 points on 6 of 7 shooting from the field and 2 of 2 at the line. Boston University-bound senior Nia Irving was once again dominant despite facing double and triple teams. She finished with 18 points, 19 rebounds, three blocks, three steals and five assists.

“I knew that we wanted to be very excited, get out and get off to a really good start,” Caldwell said. “It was very important for us to continue this because we want to follow up on what we did last year.

“We want to really prove to our community and everyone else that we can do this again.”

Caldwell started the rout with a 3-pointer just 39 seconds into the game and then doubled the Bulldogs’ advantage with another triple 25 seconds later.

“We knew we had our work cut out for us, we just tried to hang in there,” Skowhegan coach Mike LeBlanc said. “When you miss your first five shots of the game, it’s not going to be a pretty sight when they can convert anything that they throw up.

“We just dug ourselves too big of a hole and we knew they were good. We just wanted to be able to compete and I felt like we did a little bit when we decided that we wanted to play. It’s a tough road but we set a goal to be here and we were here.”

Lawrence led 22-5 after the first quarter and 40-8 at the half shooting 13 of 27 from the floor and 10 of 13 at the line.

The Bulldogs held the Indians to just 3-of-24 shooting in the opening half and 1-for-2 at the foul line. Lawrence held a 21-13 edge on the glass at the break and forced 11 Skowhegan turnovers.

“We had them by 32 at halftime and we kind of backed off a little bit,” Lawrence coach John Donato said. “We wanted to get some other kids and different combinations in. (Skowhegan) is a good, young team so we gave Nia a rest as much as possible.”

The Bulldogs will next face No. 5 Hampden — which advanced with a 42-40 win over Nokomis on a shot from Courtney Dunton at the buzzer — Wednesday at 4 p.m. at the Augusta Civic Center.

“They’re going to be a good team,” Caldwell said of the match up with Hampden. “Each team is getting better throughout the tournament and we’re just excited to continue how we keep playing.”

As for Skowhegan, its best days most certainly lay ahead. Outside of Swanson (eight points, six rebounds) and Alyssa Cobb (five points), each player that stepped on the court for Skowhegan on Friday night will have at least two more years left with the program.

“They worked hard. I never fault them for working hard. We don’t play the smartest basketball at times but they’re learning,” LeBlanc said. “They’re 13-years-old most of them. Out of 15 kids, nine of them are freshmen.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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