AUGUSTA — After three consecutive Class C South girls basketball quarterfinals games that quickly became blowouts, top-seeded Winthrop found itself in a close game at halftime against No. 9 Carrabec.

“We never take a team lightly. Our first half was a little sloppy, but we went in the locker room, talked it over, and we didn’t give up,” Winthrop’s Kena Souza said.

The Ramblers regrouped, and pulled away with a strong third quarter, taking a 55-42 win at the Augusta Civic Center.

No. 1 Winthrop (17-2) will face No. 5 Old Orchard Beach in the semifinals Thursday. No. 9 Carrabec ends the season at 10-10.

“We knew they’re a very good team. We knew this one was not going to be easy. Their defense was incredible tonight. They really pushed us tonight,” Winthrop’s Madison Forgue, who scored a game-high 16 points, said.

Winthrop led 25-22 at the half, and Carrbaec took a 26-25 lead with 6:21 left in the third quarter on a Cheyenne Cahill layup. After that, the rest of the quarter was all Winthrop. The Ramblers closed the quarter with a 16-3 run, taking a 41-29 lead into the fourth.

“That’s a really good defensive team, and they forced us into some things that we weren’t necessarily comfortable with in the first half,” Winthrop coach Joe Burnham said. “We made some adjustments at halftime, and that led to made shots, which led to us being able to press which led to us getting some easy baskets.”

Those adjustments included a better job anticipating where open Cobras would be. Winthrop also focused on quicker passes and less dribbling.

“I felt like we were just a step below in the first half,” Burnham said.

More made shots meant the Ramblers could get into their fullcourt pressure more, and as the game went on, that press began t cause more problems for Carrabec. The Cobras committed seven turnovers in the key third quarter.

“We kind of ran out of a little bit of steam. We struggled in the first half handling their pressure. Normally we break the pressure and they stop pressing,” Carrabec coach Skip Rugh said. “They kept the pressure on us. We came out in the second half, and we were a little sluggish.”

Added Forgue: “We had to go after loose balls. We had to play like we know we can. All work together.”

After being held scoreless and in foul trouble in the first half, Winthrop’s Aaliyah WilsonFalcone scored all eight of her points in the third quarter. Souza hit a pair of 3-pointers in the third.

Overcoming playoff jitters was important, Forgue said.

“We definitely had a lot of nerves before this game. I mean, it’s a tournament game. It’s very nerve-wracking. We just had to shake them out,” Forgue said.

Cahill led Carrabec with 14 points.

 

Winthrop senior Aaliyah WilsonFalcone squeezes through Carrabec defenders Skye Welch, left, and Julia Baker during a Class C South quarterfinal game Tuesday night at the Augusta Civic Center. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy Buy this Photo

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