OLD TOWN, Maine — The inside presence of John Bapst senior Sam Gormley can be intimidating for any basketball team.
The 6-foot-1 center was a monster in the paint yet again for the Crusaders of Bangor Thursday night, scoring 14 of her game-high 19 points in the first half, including 11 in the second quarter as John Bapst pulled away for a 53-39 victory over Old Town.
Coach Mike Webb’s Crusaders were a tad out of sync in the first quarter and trailed 10-8 after the first eight minutes.
But John Bapst fed Gormley for plenty of opportunities down low, and the Old Town defense had no answers for her.
“She needs to touch the ball to make everything else work, and its got to go through her to get it going,” said Webb, whose team improves to 12-1 while Old Town dips to 6-5.
The Crusaders were a little overaggressive early on, at times forcing the ball into the paint and not running their offensive sets.
“Yeah we were a little slow, I don’t know, it just wasn’t clicking and we finally got the swing of things and took our time,” said senior guard Morgan Chasse.
The Bapst offense started clicking in the second quarter, outscoring Old Town 17-4 to take an 11-point halftime lead.
Meanwhile, the Crusaders’ backcourt of junior Kirsty Moriarty and seniors Sam Maquillan and Chasse applied constant pressure on the Coyotes’ guards so they couldn’t work it inside to their own post presence, 6-2 freshman Courtney Treadwell.
“That’s our game plan, to try to take care of Treadwell and to try to take care of [Sarah] Wilcox,” Webb said.
Maquillan and Gormley limited Treadwell to four points on 1-for-9 shooting as the Crusaders’ halfcourt trap and quickness flustered the Coyotes often.
“Sam’s got the best eyes on the court, she knows what’s going on, knows when to trap,” said Chasse, who with Moriarty frustrated OT’s Wilcox into a 4-of-16 shooting night.
“What we wanted to do was put pressure on the ball, they did a good job of that tonight,” Webb said.
Bapst led by as many as 17 in the second half, but Old Town made a run as Ashley Abbott fueled a 8-0 burst in the fourth quarter that brought the Coyotes within seven with 4 minutes to go.
But the Crusaders scored the game’s next nine points to re-establish a double-digit lead.
”I think we got a little bit ahead of ourselves, we kind of put down our guards,” Gormley said.
The Crusaders forced 13 first-half turnovers while Abbott picked up four fouls and Treadwell had three, limiting Old Town’s options down low on both ends of the floor.
“We had [Treadwell] in foul trouble so we just thought since she’s the one in foul trouble, just pound it in,” said Gormley, who also had 10 rebounds.
Chasse connected for 11 points in a balanced Crusader offense while reserve Jordan Myerowitz had eight and Moriarty scored seven.
Abbott’s 16 points led Old Town while Wilcox had 14.