HERMON, Maine — The good news for the Hermon girls basketball team is that it held John Bapst of Bangor to 19 second-half points while scoring 26 themselves.
Problem is, there are two halves in a basketball game.
The Crusaders of Bangor steamrolled out to a 27-13 lead at halftime behind 16 first-half points from senior center Sam Gormley and withstood a furious rally from a determined Hawks’ squad to post a 46-39 victory at the Hermon High gym Wednesday night.
Coach Mike Webb’s club all but sewed up the No. 2 seed in Eastern Maine Class B with the victory, finishing 16-2 while Hermon wraps the regular season 9-9.
Despite having only two players — Gormley and Morgan Chasse — hit a field goal in the game, the Crusaders were sound from the free-throw line, taking advantage of Hawk foul trouble to shoot 24-for-34 from the stripe.
“We hit some key ones when we needed them to keep [the lead] from going to that 7-6 point,” said Webb.
A lot of Gormley’s buckets came from in the paint, particularly on second-chance shots, as six of the 6-footer’s 13 rebounds came on the offensive end despite facing double and triple teams.
“They’re a very good rebounding team but I somehow found a way to get around. They’re really tough,” said Gormley, who wound up with 22 points while classmate Chasse had 13.
After a close first quarter, Bapst embarked on a 16-4 run in the second quarter, with Gormley scoring 10 of those points, capped by a conventional 3-point play with 32 seconds left before halftime.
Coach Margie Deabay’s Hawks, however, refused to quit, pressuring the basketball better in the second half and forcing the Crusaders out of their halfcourt set.
“We wanted to get them out of the zone, that worked, but we really didn’t want to spread the floor,” said Webb. “But once they came out on us we couldn’t get into another offense.”
That tactic forced Bapst to work the ball around the perimeter instead of looking for Gormley in the post, which had been instrumental in building the double-digit lead.
“Coach had a game plan but once they played such good defense it kind of went out the window,” said Gormley. “They’re a good team.”
Hermon limited the Crusaders to two second-half field goals while slowly chipping away at the lead, drawing as close as seven late in the fourth quarter on Katie Durgin’s free throws.
“We got down a little bit in the first half but I was really pleased with our defense in the second half,” said Deabay.
Deabay, whose club has four freshman and three sophomores on the roster, has been seeking improvements with each game.
“I think they’re coming along, every game I see a little improvement,” Deabay said. “We’re young but we’re getting better.”
But, the Crusaders’ lead was too much to overcome, and Bapst simply hit too many free throws down the stretch.
“I thought the first-half defense was really good, I think the key to the game was the first-half defense,” said Webb.
Durgin’s 12 points led Hermon while Victoria Davenport, Erin Arnold and Danielle Ross contributed seven apiece.