AUGUSTA — Hampden Academy has a weapon in 6-foot-3 Bailey Donovan, and she doesn’t need to take over a game offensively to wear an opponent out. In Tuesday night’s Class A North semifinal against Lawrence, Donovan scored just 13 points. But she grabbed 20 rebounds, and made any sort of interior offense close to impossible for the Bulldogs.

“Last couple practices, I’ve even stood there defensively, trying to be that big, and a couple girls said ‘Coach, you’re not as big as she is,'” Lawrence coach Greg Chesley said.

With Donovan as the anchor, Hampden used its defense to pull away from Lawrence late, earning a 50-36 win and a return trip to the regional championship game. No. 2 Hampden, now 16-4, will face either Skowhegan or Messalonskee for the regional title Friday. No.3 Lawrence ends the season at 13-7.

AUGUSTA, ME – FEBRUARY 19, 2019 Lawrence High School’s Megan curtis (2) drives to the hoop as she is defended by Hampden academy’s Amelia McLaughlin (12) in the first quarter in the Class A North semifinal game at the Augusta Civic Center on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. (Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans/Staff Photographer) Michael G. Seamans

Lawrence and Hampden split a pair of regular-season games, and Broncos coach Nick Winchester knew defense was going to be the key in round three.

“We felt like if we held them under 40 points, we’d have a chance to win. All year long, defense has been our calling card,” Winchester said. “(Lawrence) made some really tough shots, and some really long threes, and we were going to have to live with that. I’m very happy with the effort.”

Down 14 points midway through the second quarter, Lawrence fought back to make it close, cutting Hampden’s lead to just three points, 26-23, midway through the third quarter on a pair of Brooklyn Lambert free throws. For the Bulldogs, it was a matter of playing with intensity.

“We came out in the first quarter and played a little flat, I felt. You watch the game offensively, we had people in different spots. That’s not what we do. I don’t know if we were nervous, or their size affected it, and what it was,” Chesley said. “We made that run, hit a couple shots, and felt we were back in it.”

From there, Hampden outscored Lawrence 24-10, closing the game as strongly as it began it.

Alydia Brillant scored nine points for the Broncos, seven in the second half,  but the offensive star for Hampden was Amelia McLaughlin. The guard scored 11 of her 14 points in the first quarter, helping stake the Broncos to a 17-5 lead.

“It opened other things up and created a challenge I don’t think they prepared for. Nobody’s thinking of Amelia McLaughlin. You’re thinking of Bailey, you’re thinking of Alydia,” Winchester said.

Added Chesley: “We kind of said leading up to this game, make someone else (other than Donovan) beat us. Knowing they can shoot, get out there and close out. We didn’t get out there and close out. A couple times we did close out, we didn’t stay low and they drove by and made layups.”

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Camryn Bouchard gave Hampden a 24-10 lead midway through the second quarter. While Lawrence was having trouble matching up with Hampden’s size on the glass, it wasn’t Donovan beating the Bulldogs offensively.

Lawrence closed the first half with a 9-0 run, cutting Hampden’s lead to 24-19 at the break.

Megan Curtis led Lawrence with 14 points, including four 3-pointers. Brooklyn Lambert added nine points for the Bulldogs.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM




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