Sophomores Maddie Fitzpatrick and Emma Lizotte are the stars on the Cheverus High’s girls’ basketball team.

But Saturday night, it was senior guard Julia Kratzer who shined the brightest. And the Stags had a Golden glow.

Kratzer scored 17 points, 14 coming in the decisive second half when she hit three of her four 3-pointers, and Cheverus defeated Gorham, 49-36, in the Class AA championship game at Cross Insurance Arena, giving the school its first Gold Ball in girls’ basketball.

“I just knew this was my last game,” said Kratzer. “And with the help of my teammates and all the support they give me, I was just able to find open spots and it was just amazing.”

While Kratzer was draining jumpers, Cheverus suffocated the Rams with its defense. The Stags pressured Gorham throughout the second half, challenging every dribble, every pass, every shot. That resulted in 13 Gorham turnovers in the second half.

“Playing defense is what we do best,” said Lizotte, who contributed 14 points and 14 rebounds. “It’s been our main focus. Our motto all year has been, ‘Defense wins championships.’ And we played our game. And defense won us that game.


Cheverus finished with an 18-3 record, while Gorham finished 18-4. The teams didn’t play in the regular season, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t familiar with each other. Gorham Coach Laughn Berthiaume knew the Stags’ defense could alter a game’s momentum.

“That’s something that they do,” he said. “It wasn’t a surprise; it was coming. We needed to handle it a little better. But they’re really good at what they do.”

Defense changed the momentum quickly in the third quarter. With the game tied 19-19 at halftime, Cheverus Coach Bill Goodman told his team to play a more aggressive defense.

“We switched to a defense the girls love to play,” said Goodman, who won three Class A state championships at now-closed McAuley High. “I didn’t want to do it in the first half because I wanted to conserve some energy. In the second half, we just were so aggressive. And they loved it. It gave the girls energy, and it worked.”

Kratzer, who hit just about every shot she took in pregame warm-ups, opened the second-half scoring with a three-point play eight seconds into the third. A Fitzpatrick steal at midcourt then led to a layup by Lillie Singleton.

“They got some tipped passes and were able to feed off that energy a little bit,” said Berthiaume.


Gorham, which was led by Anna Nelson with 11 points, settled down and got within 24-21. But Kratzer hit a 3-pointer from the left wing, then Singleton made a steal and swooped in for a layup.

The Stags led 32-23 into the fourth and kept the pressure on. Another 3-pointer by Kratzer with 5:47 left made it 38-25. Gorham got within nine at 40-31 on a basket by Nicole Walker, but Kratzer responded with a deep 3-pointer from the left wing.

“All year, we’ve had different girls do it,” said Goodman. “Tonight, Julia Kratzer had that attitude that she was going to do it. She was great tonight.”

And the Stags rode that to a state championship.

“This is pretty amazing,” said Lizotte. “To be able to win it as a sophomore, I don’t have the words to describe it. And to win it for our five seniors is just amazing.”

“Best night of my life,” said Kratzer.

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