AUGUSTA — Melinda Ogden’s ill-advised foul of a Richmond 3-point shooter with 1:03 left in the Class C South girls basketball quarterfinal might have led her and her team to self-destruct against the Bobcats in the past. But some words of encouragement from coach Melvin Grant got the senior forward back in the right frame of mind.

“I was down but coach said ‘Keep your head up. Keep playing,'” Ogden said. “And that’s probably the first time in my career, four years, that I’ve actually kept playing.”

Ogden scored a game-high 13 points to lead eighth-seeded Searsport to a 33-32 upset over No. 1 Richmond in a Class C South girls basketball quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center on Tuesday. Her last four points more than made up for the three she gave up.

“I’ve never experienced anything like that,” said Ogden, who also had 10 rebounds.

Searsport (13-7) will face No. 4 Madison in a regional semifinal at 4 p.m. on Thursday. Richmond ends its season at 16-3.

Anna Bucklin added seven points for the Vikings. Sydney Tilton led the Bobcats with seven points and 13 rebounds.

With the Vikings leading, 29-27, Ogden fouled Richmond’s Caitlin Kendrick in the act of shooting a 3-pointer. The freshman coolly sank all three free throws to put the Bobcats on top by a point with 1:03 left.

“She made a little bit of a boneheaded play. It was just a hustle play on her part,” Grant said. “She is our bread and butter. She is one of the best in the state.”

Grant called a timeout, pumped up his 1,000-point career scorer, then set up a play that led to her drawing a foul and two free throws. Ogden drilled both to put the Vikings in front with 41 seconds left. But she wasn’t done yet.

On the Bobcats’ ensuing possession, Ogden ripped the ball away from a Richmond player and took it the length of the floor for a layup that made it 33-30 with 18 seconds to go.

“It’s just all in the moment. You’ve just got to keep working,” Ogden said. “I don’t know, I’ve just been waiting for it for so long, I just push myself.”

Richmond called a timeout to set up a tying 3-pointer. They got one off but it missed. Tilton rebounded and eventually scored underneath to pull the Bobcats within one, but the clock ran out before Searsport even had to inbound the ball.

“We struggled offensively today. Hats off to them. Searsport played well,” Richmond coach Mike Ladner said. “We settled from the outside. We had a hard time getting the ball inside. When we did get it inside, I feel like we forced some shots.”

Searsport used a triangle-and-two defense to try to shut down Tilton and Kelsea Anair (two points, seven rebounds) and was mostly successful. Tilton usually drew a double-team when she tried to post up down low.

“We practiced it maybe 20 minutes, and I said, ‘OK, we’ve got it. We’re going to go with it,” Grant said. “We only planned on doing it for the first four or five minutes and then switching back to a (2-3) zone. But it kept going.”

Richmond shot 10-for-46 (22 percent) from the floor.

Searsport, which suffered losses of 18 and nine points to Richmond during the regular season, might have been blown out early if not for its defense. The Bobcats limited the Vikings to 1-for-12 (eight percent) shooting in the first quarter and had a 9-2 lead after a Tilton putback early in the second quarter.

Bucklin snapped the Vikings out of their cold spell with a 3-pointer to make it 9-5. Ogden followed with back-to-back threes in the span of 24 seconds and suddenly Searsport had the lead midway through the quarter.

“It seems like every game we play, I’ve got to hit a shot, I’ve got to hit a three and then we get rolling,” Ogden said. “Until I start something, it seems like the team kind of lays low. But I think this game our girls finally came alive.”

A pair of Bucklin free throws made it 13-9 Vikings before Richmond finally answered with a Meranda Martin putback. Ogden’s stepback jumper and a putback by Brooklyn Alberts helped Searsport take a 17-13 lead into halftime.

Searsport led by as much as five early in the second half before the Bobcats saw the lead again a 3-pointer by Mackenzie Abbott with 2:29 left in the third. The Vikings reclaimed the lead just before the end of the quarter on a Paige Ireland hoop.

The teams tied twice and exchanged the lead three times in a back-and-forth fourth quarter before Ogden’s heroics.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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