AUGUSTA — It wasn’t the prettiest game of the season for the Lawrence girls basketball team. And for the Bulldogs, it didn’t have to be. 

Megan Curtis scored 12 points, Sarah Poli had 11 and No. 4 Lawrence withstood a late rally from No. 5 Erskine to beat the Eagles 48-41 in a Class A North quarterfinal game at the Augusta Civic Center Friday night.

“I’ve preached to them about what Lawrence basketball is about,” Lawrence coach Greg Chesley said. “Most people understand that Lawrence basketball over time has been about grit and determination and hard work, on both the boys and the girls side. Tonight, that was an old-school Lawrence basketball win.”

Curtis, a senior captain, was happy with how her team pulled out a victory that was a little rough around the edges.

“When we’re down, we just get the grit and get to work,” she said.

Erskine coach Bob Witts praised his team’s growth this season, but said the third quarter, during which the Eagles (12-7) scored only three points, was too much to overcome.

“They were playing pretty good ‘D,’ but I just think we couldn’t make a shot,” said Witts, whose team was led by nine points apiece from Alyssa Savage and Emily Clark. “There were times when we were running a set play and the kids ran into each other. I just think it was a combination of both.”

Lawrence wasn’t sharp coming out of the break either, scoring 10 points in quarter, but still entered the fourth with a 34-27 lead. The Bulldogs then started to pull away, with Curtis driving for baskets on consecutive possessions to make it 43-32 and seemingly put the game away with just over two minutes to play.

The Eagles, however, weren’t done. Grace Hutchins (eight points) knocked down first one 3-pointer, and then another to narrow the gap to five points at 43-38 and prompt a timeout with 1:20 to go.

“She’s a good shooter,” Witts said. “She knows she has the green light, and she knows I’m not going to yank her out of the game if she misses one or two in a row. … She’s someone I’m going to rely on for the next three years.”

Lawrence couldn’t inbound the ball after the timeout, giving Erskine a chance to make it a one-possession game, but Curtis grabbed the rebound of Emily Clark’s floater attempt.

Erskine had to foul, and after a missed free throw, the Bulldogs kept possession when the ball went out of bounds. Hope Bouchard, a freshman, then hit a pair of free throws to make it a seven-point game with 50.7 seconds left.

Erskine managed to get to the line for three free-throws down 46-40 with 24.4 seconds left, but couldn’t make it a one-score game.

Asked if he gets nervous in situations like Lawrence faced at the end of the game, Chesley gave a slight smile.

“I’d love to tell you I don’t,” he said. “But I was getting nervous. … We didn’t shoot well from the line, but we made enough.”

Lawrence was more at home on the defensive end, where it held Erskine to one field goal for a stretch of 12 minutes and 10 seconds between the third and fourth quarters.

“We definitely closed out pretty well tonight,”  Curtis said. “Boxing out wasn’t really there that much, but once (Chesley) told us to box out and kind of growled at us a little bit, we got back to it.”

Sarah Poli led the rebounding effort for Lawrence with seven boards.

Clark had 13 rebounds and Jordan Linscott had five steals for Erskine, and Witts was optimistic about what the team will be capable of going forward.

“I think the future looks really bright for us,” said Witts, who returns 11 of his 13 players, a group including Clark Hutchins and MacKenzie Roderick, who had seven points. “From day one to now, it’s like night and day. And you could see it in the game tonight. Couldn’t make a shot to save our lives, looking like they were going to blow us out, and they kept fighting.”

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