AUGUSTA — Lawrence girls basketball coach John Donato was succinct in his assessment of his team’s season-ending loss in the Class A North quarterfinals Friday night.

“We couldn’t defend the big girl,” Donato said after No. 4 Lawrence High School dropped a 46-39 decision to No. 5 Hampden Academy at the Augusta Civic Center. “End of story.”

The girl Donato referred to was 6-foot-4 sophomore center Bailey Donovan, who scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds as the Broncos (12-7) advanced to the regional semifinals. Donovan scored 17 of her points in the second half, curbing any shot Lawrence (12-7) had of overcoming a dreadful start.

Lawrence managed just 11 first-half points, shooting a woeful 4 of 21 from the floor (19 percent) across the first two quarters. The Bulldogs were also outrebounded by a wide margin — 17-9 — and turned the ball over seven times, leading to a 16-11 halftime deficit.

“Usually we shoot better than that,” Donato said. “We had to shoot well, because we were outmatched underneath. They had too much size. We played better against them in the regular season than we did tonight.”

Things weren’t much better for Lawrence in the third quarter. Molly Folsom kissed a shot off the glass to cap a small rally for the Bulldogs and tie the game at 20-20 with 3:44 remaining in the period, but Hampden answered with a 12-3 run lasting into the final quarter to build a comfortable cushion.

Donovan scored eight points during the run.

“(Donovan) got herself going. It’s just a huge (advantage),” Hampden coach Tim Scott said. “She’s 6-4, and I think their tallest girl is only 5-9. We’ve got to get it inside and we try to do that most games. It seemed to work well in the second half.”

“When she’s able to post up in there and push, that’s all there is to it,” Donato said of trying to defend Donovan. “She’s getting the ball that close and turning and shooting it, we can forget about boxing out. It’s too easy of a shot.”

Where Hampden was able to work the ball inside and take the game into the paint, Lawrence was forced to try and be patient on the perimeter and wait for open shots. Those shots were eventually there in the form of good looks, but a lack of rhythm made it difficult for shots to fall.

Morgan Boudreau scored eight points, only three prior to the final quarter. Hunter Mercier scored a team-high 10 points for Lawrence.

“I think we flustered them a little bit and tired them in the first half,” Scott said, noting that his team wanted to keep Boudreau and Camryn Caldwell (five points) from heating up.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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