AUGUSTA — The shots didn’t go in at the beginning, putting the Lawrence High School girls basketball team in a hole. Then they didn’t go in at the end, preventing the Bulldogs’ attempt to climb out.

Fourth-seeded Lawrence saw its Class A North tournament run come to an end in the semifinals, falling to No. 1 Hampden 42-31 at the Augusta Civic Center.

Bailey Donovan scored 12 points to lead the Broncos (18-2), while Sophia Narofsky added 10.

Brooklynn Lambert led Lawrence (12-8) with 10 points, while Molly Folsom had eight.

ICE COLD START: The Bulldogs raced out of the gates in their quarterfinal win against Brewer. On Wednesday, however, nothing was falling. Lawrence went without a field goal in the first quarter, missed all 15 attempts and was down 13-1 at the break.

“Last Friday … we came out on fire,” coach Greg Chesley said. “As coaches, we said ‘Let’s try to do the same thing.’ And it was the opposite. We were cold. … It’s going to be hard to beat the No. 1 team when you’re 11-for-53 (from the field).”

Lawrence broke its spell with a Camryn Caldwell layup to start the second quarter, but missed its next five shots as Hampden built its lead to 17-3.

“It’s definitely hard, especially with all the noise and everything, and looking up at the scoreboard and you’re down by 10,” Folsom said. “You have to keep yourself composed and think, if we hit a couple here, we’re right back in it.”

After struggling early against Gardiner in the quarterfinals, Hampden coach Nick Winchester was happy to see his team start quickly this time.

“We just executed 100 percent better today than we did before,” he said. “We made free throws today, we didn’t make free throws in the last game. I thought we were super efficient offensively.”

STRUGGLES RETURN: Lawrence didn’t go away, ending the third quarter down 29-21 and within range of a comeback.

The shooting woes that plagued the Bulldogs picked a bad time to return, however. After a Lambert jumper that made the score 32-23, Lawrence missed 11 of its 12 shots, robbing the Bulldogs of any chance to make a late run or apply crunch time pressure on the Broncos.

Until that point, Chesley and his players still had faith. Lawrence had rallied back from a 29-14 deficit at the end of the third quarter, getting a Caldwell layup, a Folsom layup and a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Lambert to make it an eight-point game.

It was the closest Lawrence had been since falling behind 9-1 in the first quarter, but any momentum was short-lived — Marissa Gilpin knocked down a 3-pointer on the first Hampden series of the fourth quarter to put the Broncos back ahead by 11, 32-21.

“I thought we were there. We had a shot,” Chesley said. “We went zone for one trip, and Gilpin hit one in the corner on us. We were hoping that was going to be the other way around. Get a stop, get a turnover, then we’d hit a three and we would have had a five-point game. That was the gameplan. It didn’t work quite right.”

TOO MUCH SIZE: Lawrence struggled all game to deal with Hampden’s size. The 6-foot-3 Donovan grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots, while Brooklyn Scott (5-9) and Narofsky (5-10) had seven rebounds apiece and Alydia Brillant notched three blocks.

“We’re super long as a group,” Winchester said. “We’re also, I don’t know any other way to say it other than we’re really rugged. We have a lot of rugged kids. That helps you fight off screens, that helps you get through screens, that helps you with switches. … Our kids just play really well defensively, and they use that physicality to put themselves in good positions.”

Chesley acknowledged that that defense, particularly with Donovan in the middle, affected Lawrence’s offensive production in the paint.

“Some of the (missed) layups I would attribute to Donovan. She covers a lot of space,” he said. “Even if she’s where the old dotted line used to be, she can still affect that shot. Long reach, and we don’t have the ability to play against somebody that big to test that.”

Drew Bonifant – 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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