HAMPDEN, Maine — If there’s one thing the Bangor girls basketball team is known for, it’s a 1-3-1 zone defense.
For Thursday night’s game at Hampden Academy, however, coach Tom Tennett switched things up a bit, going with a 2-3 knowing the Broncos were dangerous from the perimeter.
The tactic worked, as the Rams held Hampden to 6-for-23 shooting from beyond the arc and Stephanie Comstock hit the second of two free throws with 15.7 seconds remaining as Bangor posted a 40-39 Class A victory.
Bangor, which improved to 4-6, avenged a 44-41 Dec. 5 loss to Hampden, which fell to 2-8.
The Rams, who never trailed in the fourth quarter, watched the Broncos rally from what had been a seven-point deficit to a 39-39 tie on Whitney Moore’s 12-foot baseline jumper with 1:17 to play.
After a Bangor turnover and a miss from HA’s Julia Snyder, Comstock penetrated into the paint and drew Snyder’s fifth foul.
Comstock’s first attempt hit the back of the iron and bounced off, but the second rolled around the front and dropped.
“That was a big one for me. I’ve been struggling on the foul line,” said Comstock, who finished with nine points while Meagan Doucette poured in a game-high 18.
Michaela Stephenson missed a pair of potential game-winning 3s, including one as time expired.
Hampden, which lost to Messalonskee of Oakland Tuesday night and didn’t practice Wednesday due to inclement weather, struggled in the early going and found itself trailing 11-3 early in the second quarter.
But the Broncos fought back and outscored Bangor 18-6 from then on to take a 21-17 lead into halftime, primarily thanks to a pair of 3s from Stephenson and a 5-for-9 effort from the line.
“We had to stop putting them on the foul line. I thought we did a pretty good job of that in the second half,” said Tennett.
Bangor’s 2-3 scheme frustrated the smaller Broncos at times, and the Ram defenders constantly hounded passing lanes and limited Hampden’s penetration inside.
“That’s the first time we’ve seen a 2-3 zone this year, primarily because we’re pretty small,” Hampden coach Ben Greenlaw said. “We have kids that can shoot the ball, it’s just a matter of getting accustomed.”
Doucette, who was 9-for-11 from the line for Bangor, was a force defensively, coming up with five steals despite playing the last few minutes of the game with four fouls.
“Meg is really starting to come along. She’s [been] a key to the second half of the season for us,” Tennett said.
Freshman Kate Treadwell also had a solid game inside, collecting a game-high nine rebounds to go with her seven points.
“Kate’s going to be an outstanding player, but we have to make sure she’s in the right situation to have success,” said Tennett. “I thought she did a great job tonight.”
Even though the Broncos did have some success from downtown in the second half, the Rams were effective in collapsing on the perimeter.
“Over the course of the game we put away the 3s as much as we could. They did get some, but that’s what we have to work on in practice,” Comstock said.
The Rams particularly rallied around sophomore forward Hillary Throckmorton, whose grandfather, Burton, passed away recently.
“We’re very supportive of her and what her family’s going through,” Comstock said. “We all came together and brought her to play with us and she’s been very strong over the past week.”
Bangor had 12 steals as a team, with Melanie Jackson also coming away with five.