AUGUSTA — The Bulldogs were good when it mattered, both early and late, on Friday night.

The fourth-seeded Lawrence girls basketball team raced out to an early lead and then held off a Brewer push in the second half with clutch free throw shooting in the final period, pulling away to a 51-37 win over the No. 5 Witches in the Class A North quarterfinals at the Augusta Civic Center.

For Lawrence (12-7), which advances to the regional semifinals for the first time since 2016, the loss avenged a 25-point regular-season defeat at the hands of Brewer (11-8). The Bulldogs will meet either No. 1 Hampden or No. 8 Gardiner, in the semis on Wednesday.

Brooklynn Lambert led three Lawrence players in double figures with 15 points, eight of those in the second half. Megan Curtis finished with 14, while Keagan Alley had 11. The Bulldogs made 12 free throws in the final quarter to seal it.

Brewer got 11 points from Rebecca Gideon, but after pulling to within two at 30-28 late in the third quarter managed just one field goal over the next five and a half minutes. The Bulldogs went on a 16-4 run over that stretch to help lock up the victory.

QUICK START: It didn’t take long for Lawrence to heat up from the floor.

The Bulldogs came out firing, connecting on five of their first seven attempts from the field to open the contest and stake themselves out to a 14-2 lead keyed by an 11-0 run at the start.

Sophomore guards Alley and Curtis each drilled a pair of 3s during the stretch.

“I’m thinking, ‘All right. We don’t usually do this ever,’ ” Lawrence coach Greg Chesley said. “I’m thinking that’s all we need and then the third quarter came. We needed a little more.”

THIRD QUARTER BLUES: Despite leading by nine, 23-14, at halftime, Lawrence saw that lead disappear almost instantly in the third quarter.

Brewer opened the period with a quick 7-0 run inside the first 2:20 to make it a 23-21 game.

“We came out a little slow,” Lambert said.

Though Lawrence only committed six turnovers in the second half, three of them came during that spark for Brewer.

“The entire game was about taking care of the ball,” Chesley said. “Their pressure is about making you play at a tempo you don’t want to. They want you to make passes you don’t want to make and turn it over. I thought we did a good job of limiting (turnovers).”

In the fourth quarter, Lawrence managed the Witches’ press much better — converting field goals and making 12 of 20 free throws in the final quarter.

“We did well on the press breaker and I got a bunch of open layups, so that was easy,” Lambert said.

The Bulldogs held Brewer to just nine fourth-quarter points of their own, including only two field goals.

PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME: It was impossible to choose one over the other from the trio of Lambert, Alley and senior Molly Folsom.

Lambert finished off every easy bucket she was granted, Alley grabbed eight rebounds to come up two short of a double-double, and Folsom provided the leadership the Bulldogs needed in crunch time.

“We knew that we needed to come out and do what we do best,” Alley said.

Folsom made all four of her free throw attempts and pulled down a pair of rebounds in the final period.

“Some of our girls who have some experience on this court — Molly, Camryn (Caldwell), Brooklynn — stepped up and handled the ball a little more,” Chesley said. “You’ve got a girl who’s been here for a few years, takes care of the ball and makes some free throws, that’s pretty big.”

NEW MONTH, NEW GAME: In the only regular season meeting between Lawrence and Brewer, the Witches rolled to a 25-point home win (67-42) on Jan. 11.

“That wasn’t our best game that night,” Alley said. “We needed to execute right from the start.”

It was a completely different game Friday night. Brewer never led.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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