PORTLAND — With stars on both teams in foul trouble throughout the Class A girls basketball game, the game didn’t go exactly as either York coach Rick Clark or Lawrence coach John Donato envisioned. But when you are managed by a pair of coaches with more than 500 victories apiece, you can expect each to handle the adversity foul trouble brings.

For York, which took a 58-57 win, the foul trouble started early. Miss Maine Basketball finalist Shannon Todd picked up her first foul just 14 seconds into the game. With 3:02 left in the first quarter, Todd picked up her second trying to guard Lawrence’s Miss Maine Basketball finalist Nia Irving. Clark left Todd in the game for a another minute, but switched defensive assignments, with Chloe Smedley taking the Irving detail.

Todd had to leave the game late in the second quarter, however, when she picked up her third foul when she went over the back of Lawrence’s Molly Folsom.

“We took (Todd) out for a couple minutes at the end of that (first) quarter, and put her back in. She’s very smart, a good player,” Clark said. “That third foul was just a freaky thing, just a bad decision on her part. Normally she doesn’t do that, so I felt confident.”

Guarding Irving, Smedley picked up her second foul with 25 seconds left in the first quarter. Smedley picked up her third with a foul on Folsom in the final minute of the second quarter, giving the Wildcats’ top two players three fouls heading into the second half.

“It was a little scary for me, personally, but I brushed it off. I knew our bench would step up and they did. When I went back in, I did my job,” Smedley said.

That deep York bench was the reason Clark said he didn’t give either Todd or Smedley specific instructions for their play in the second half.

“The main thing was, we had other people who could come in and take their spot, and do the job. (Todd and Smedley) could relax a little bit and come in in the second half and play their game,” Clark said. “That’s the best part about this team. Somebody else can step up. We had depth. Erin McCafferty, Morgan Chapman, people came off the bench and made a difference.”

Lawrence didn’t find itself in foul trouble until the second half, but when trouble came, it came quickly. With 6:55 to play in the third quarter, Irving picked up her third when she fouled Mia Briggs in the act of shooting. Thirteen seconds later, Smedley took an Irving charge, and Lawrence’s best player sat the rest of the third quarter with four fouls.

“I took the charge, got her her fourth foul and I think that was the turning point of the game,” Smedley said.

It may have been a mental turning point for the Wildcats, who were up 37-32 at the time, and then went up seven seconds later on a Smedley basket. The Bulldogs used Irving’s foul trouble as a rallying point, outscoring York 16-5 the rest of the third quarter to take a four point lead into the fourth.

“When Nia went out with four fouls, our kids stepped up and we stayed in the game. We stayed right with them. In fact, we went ahead. They did everything they could to stay in the game,” Donato said. “You don’t take 25 points and 20 rebounds out, but we stayed even with them.”

With 6:51 left in the game, Donato sent Irving back in. The Bulldogs went to a zone defense to help prevent Irving’s fifth foul.

“We had to go back to zone (defense) to protect her a little bit. I knew they would go right after her with four fouls, so we had to play zone to keep her in the game as long as I could,” Donato said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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</URL>Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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