AUGUSTA — Lawrence pushed, but the two-time defending regional champion pushed back.

Suddenly trailing for the first time since early in the first quarter, No. 1 Hampden Academy ripped off 13 of the next 14 points to open a clear fourth-period pathway to a 45-33 win over the fourth-seeded Bulldogs in a Class A North girls basketball semifinal Wednesday afternoon at the Augusta Civic Center. The Broncos (19-1) will meet No. 2 Gardiner in the regional final Friday evening.

Hampden, making its third straight regional final appearance, has now eliminated Lawrence (12-8) in the semifinals three years running.

“We just got a fire under our butt,” said Alydia Brillant, who scored the first four points in Hampden’s key 13-1 run overlapping the third and fourth quarters. “We knew we were down, and we can’t do that. We had to come up, get the lead again and I think our offense just out-offensed them in the second half.

“That’s what really got us going.”

The Bulldogs are now at four straight years of being bounced from the postseason by Hampden. In 2017, the Broncos stopped Lawrence in the regional quarterfinals.

“Three years in a row this game, on our part, has been low-scoring,” Lawrence coach Greg Chesley said. “We’ve had bad quarters offensively. Defensively and effort-wise, I’m very proud of the girls. Some nights the shots don’t fall, and tonight was one of those nights for us.”

Lawrence took a 26-25 lead — its first since it was 3-2 in the very early going — on two of senior Savannah Weston’s hard-earned 14 points with 1:36 left in the third quarter.

But then Brillant ended the period with a pair of short jumpers, and Emma Haskell and Amelia McLaughlin landed big blows with buckets from beyond the 3-point arc.

The Bulldogs went 0 for 4 from the field with three turnovers and just a single made free throw in four attempts on their nine possessions immediately after taking their final lead.

“The momentum swing,” Chesley said. “The swing from one play to the next just allowed them to go on that run. … They hit a couple threes, we had to extend (defensively) a little bit, and as soon as we extended they beat us back door. They’re a very good team.”

Hampden got nine points for Sydney Hodgdon and eight points each from Brillant, Amelia McLaughlin and Megan Deans.

Broncos head coach Nick Winchester said his team’s experience at the Civic Center added a crucial intangible.

“That was not the way we drew it up. That was probably our worst defensive game of the season,” Winchester said. “That’s a sign of this group. They’ve got a lot of experience on this floor, a lot of experience in this environment. We’ve talked a lot about that as a group, about making sure the moment’s never too big for us and we should be ready for this.

“There was a stretch there where the moment felt like it was too big for us. … Sometimes you have to win ugly. We had to work one out. I was very uncomfortable through the third period.”

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