AUGUSTA — After shooting only 3% from 3-point line in its regular-season finale, the Lawrence girls basketball team knew it had to get its long-distance game back in gear. The Bulldogs regained their form just in time.

Hope Bouchard scored 16 points and third-seeded Lawrence converted seven shots from downtown to hold off pesky No. 6 Messalonskee, 43-38, on Friday in a Class A North quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center.

The Bulldogs (13-4) will face No. 2 Gardiner in the regional semifinals at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

It took a while for Lawrence to play at its usual up-tempo pace, coach Greg Chesely said. The Bulldogs trailed after one period and didn’t take the lead for good until a Nadi Morrison bucket with 2:40 left in the second.

“Even in dead balls, we were stressing push, push, push,” Chesley said. “Once we got at that pace and to push the ball up quickly and snap it around the perimeter, we got open looks and had some key people to knock them down for us.”

The game was somewhat reminiscent of their regular season meetings: Lawrence defeated Messalonskee (6-13) by scores of 43-27 and 63-48, but had to pull away in the second half each time. Friday was no different. The Bulldogs led 25-22 in the third period before back-to-back 3-pointers from Emily Hagerty (eight points) gave her team a 31-22 lead and some breathing room with 4:11 left in the quarter. Ali Higgins (nine points) and Lizie Dumont each added a 3 early in the fourth to extend the advantage to 37-25, and Bouchard capped the barrage later in the quarter with another 3-pointer to make it 40-31.


“Our last game against Cony we shot 3 percent from 3-point rage, so it was really bad,” said Bouchard, who opened the 3-point parade with a pair of long balls in the first quarter. “So this game definitely got us back in our rhythm.”

Mesalonskee’s Jordan Lambert’s jumper cut the deficit to 42-38 late in the fourth, but the Eagles got no closer.

Messalonskee’s Brennan Doran, top left, and Jordan Lambert play defense as Lawrence’s Ali Higgins lines up a shot during a Class A North girls basketball quarterfinal game Fridayat the Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

In addition to finding a rhythm on offense, Lawrence also had to deal with a very tall order — 6-foot Messalonskee sophomore Brennan Doran, a threat from the point and the post who finished with a game-high 20 points, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the first period to give her team a 15-14 lead after one quarter.

“We had to find a way to shut Doran down,” Chesely said. “She’s really a heck of a player. Finding a way to shut her down or at least slow her down was really the key.”

Doran was one of many freshmen and sophomores making their Augusta debut after last year’s tournament was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was really impressed with them in the environment and the situation,” Messalonskee coach Keith Derosby said. “We had some kids who have never played in this moment. They never looked overwhelmed or out of place. So I’m really proud of their effort, but also their ability to rise to the occasion.

“(Doran’s) pretty special, and she does a lot on both ends defensively. She really has to do a lot on both ends. She’s being asked to do those things and to do them well.”

Ashley Mullen added seven points for Messalonskee.

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