Marshwood High senior forward Casey Perry dribbled the ball at midcourt, the seconds ticking down on the Cross Insurance Arena scoreboard, with one thought going through her mind: “We just pulled it off. We’re state champs.”

State champs indeed.

The Hawks won the Class A girls’ basketball title on Saturday afternoon, rebounding from a slow start to defeat Hampden Academy, 42-32. It is Marshwood’s first title since 1995, when it won the Class B Gold Ball.

“It’s crazy,” said senior guard Angelina Bisson, who fueled the Hawks’ comeback with two 3-pointers in the third quarter. “Being a senior, it’s so cool. But it took everybody on this team. We couldn’t have done it without every single one of us.”

Marshwood (19-3) was led by Perry (14 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots) and Bisson (11 points), along with a defense that held the Broncos to nine points in the second half.

“I’m thrilled for this group,” said Marshwood Coach Steve Freeman. “All their hard work paid off. I couldn’t be prouder of a group of kids.”

Hampden (20-2) took a 14-1 lead in the first quarter, hitting four 3-pointers by working the ball quickly around Marshwood’s hybrid triangle zone defense. Freeman switched to a man-to-man defense, and the Broncos struggled.

“I think we got stale with the ball movement,” said Hampden Coach Nick Winchester, whose team lost in the Class A state final for the third consecutive year. “For us to be successful offensively, the ball’s got to move. We’ve got to attack, and we became a little stationary.

“We wanted to drive them out of that zone and force them into man-to-man. We thought that would be a better match-up for us. But in the biggest spots, we just didn’t play well. And sometimes that happens when you’re talking about high school kids. And credit to them, their best players, when they got open shots, they knocked them down.”

Marshwood regrouped after that early deficit – “We just had to stay focused,” said Bisson.  – and tied the game at 23-23 when Rori Coomey hit a short jumper in the final second of the second quarter.

Then Marshwood, which defeated two-time defending state champion Greely in the South final, scored the first six points of the third quarter to take control. Bisson’s first 3-pointer punctuated the run.

The Broncos closed back to within 29-27 on baskets by Sydney Hodgdon and Alydia Brillant. But a Bisson 3-pointer with 25 seconds left in the third gave the Hawks a 32-27 lead going into the fourth.

“The kid’s got guts, she makes big shots,” said Freeman.

Bisson made a scooping layup and Perry hit her first 3-pointer of the season from the left wing – right in front of the Hawks’ bench – to make it 37-28 with 5:28 remaining.

“She caught it there and I was right behind her,” said Freeman. “I told her to take it and make it. She took it. Sure enough. Big shot.”

“I take those in practice, but try not to in the game,” said Perry. “But Coach told me to shoot it, so I shot it. I knew it was going in when it left my hand.”

The championship came with some adversity. Perry had to leave the game because of an injury with 3:19 left in the second quarter, but returned before halftime. Earlier, Coomey had to go out because of a sprained right ankle. Also, junior forward Lexi McGee injured her back. But Shelby Anderson, Savannah Nashwinter and Jasmine Aloisio came in to keep the Hawks moving forward.

“We were able to fight back, all of us,” said Perry. “And we started making plays. It’s amazing.”

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