OAKLAND — After his team missed four straight free throws with under a minute to play in a tight game, Lawrence High School girls basketball coach Greg Chesley was nervous. But Chesley had Hope.

That’s freshman Hope Bouchard, one of the Bulldogs top free throw shooters. In the final 10 seconds, Bouchard went to the line twice, making three of four shots and sealing the Bulldogs 48-44 win at Messalonskee.

While her coach had faith, Bouchard was nervous when she went to the line with her team holding a one point lead with 9.3 seconds left.

“I’m always nervous. I knew that we needed them. Coach had told me before that, he wants me on the line. I didn’t want to let him down and I knew they were going to be important,” said Bouchard, who finished the game with nine points.

“Free throws have been our Achilles heel this year. We’ve had a couple games where we were 8 for 23, 10 for 23. We called timeout to make sure we got the ball in the hands of the right person down the stretch,” Chesley said. “It’s a lot of pressure in this game to ask a freshman to come make those shots. She missed one out of four and that’s her first miss this year. She’s a good free throw shooter and can handle the pressure and did a nice job.”

The win improved Lawrence to 9-5, while Messalonskee is 8-4. The win gave the Bulldogs a season sweep over their rivals.

Down 47-44 in the closing seconds, Messalonskee had a chance when senior standout Gabrielle Wener drove to the basket, but her shot was short. With 0.4 seconds left, Bouchard made the second of two free throws for the four-point cushion.

Down three points and with the Bulldogs ready to defend the 3-point line, Messalonskee coach Keith Derosby said he was OK letting Wener drive to  create a scoring opportunity.

“When she got the ball in her hands, in that situation we wanted her to drive. She got to the rim and got a good look. You can’t be upset. You compete, and some nights it goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t,” Derosby said.

Messalonskee led by as many as five points in the first half, before Lawrence rallied to take the lead in the third quarter. The Bulldogs used a 10-0 run to go from four points down to six points ahead. A Bouchard layup made it 32-26 Lawrence with 1:48 left in the third.

“When the Lawrence Bulldogs play with intensity, we’re a very good team. For whatever reason, teams like Messalonksee we get pretty fired up to play. Diving on loose balls, setting better screens, boxing out better. All those little things. We’re always capable of shooting the ball well, but we’ve got to make sure we do those little things,” Chesley said.

Messalonskee tied the game at 34-34 on a Wener putback early in the fourth. A Megan Curtis free throw with 5:31 left gave the Bulldogs the lead for good, 37-36.

“When they spread the flow, their ability to get into the lane is pretty good. Megan’s (Curtis) ability to get at or near the rim and force us into situations defensively we don’t want to get into is pretty good,” Derosby said.

Down four with 11 seconds to play, Messalonskee’s Brianne Benecke made a three to cut the deficit to a point, 45-44. That set up Bouchard’s clutch foul shots.

Sarah Poli led Lawrence with 16 points, 12 coming in the second half. Wener led the Eagles with 17 points, and is now two points shy of 1,000 for her career.

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