BREWER, Maine — There wasn’t much on the line in terms of postseason implications Thursday night, but the Bangor and Brewer girls basketball teams still turned in fine all-around efforts.
Both teams showcased determination, grit, solid defense and clutch shooting, but it was the Rams who rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to emerge with a 52-49 win at the Brewer High gym in the finale for both clubs.
The Witches used an effective zone press, solid outside shooting from Amy Adams (nine points) and aggressive play in the paint from Morgan Small to take a 27-18 halftime lead, but coach Tom Tennett’s Rams made the necessary adjustments on the defensive end.
“This game was kind of a microcosm of the season, terrible first half and a pretty good second half,” said Tennett, whose club won six of its last eight games to finish with a 10-8 record while Brewer, which features six freshmen and three sophomores, winds up 5-13.
Kim Jordan’s fast-break layup capped a 16-6 third-quarter rally that gave Bangor a 34-33 lead entering the fourth, its first of the night, and the Rams started the fourth on a 9-4 run on two perimeter shots by Melanie Jackson and Megan Doucette’s conventional 3-point play.
But the hard-working Witches refused to give up, scoring the game’s next nine points to take a 45-43 advantage with 3:05 remaining, mainly attacking the rim against a bigger Bangor club.
“They’re a very aggressive team and they were really getting in there,” said Doucette. “They really did a good job in there.”
Bangor eventually tied it on Deidra Johnson’s layup with 2:18 remaining, and three Hillary Throckmorton free throws later, the Rams were up 50-47 with 34.3 seconds to go.
Small, a freshman who led the Witches with 14 points, brought her team within one with a driving layup with 21.3 left, and after the teams turned it over on their next possessions, Throckmorton hit two foul shots with 5.8 seconds left for a three-point lead.
Holly Nickerson’s 3-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.
Throckmorton, who scored 15 of her game-high 18 points in the second half, had a feeling Bangor’s offense would wake up in the second half.
“We were picking up some fouls and stuff, but when we started to step up our defense the offense stepped up and we started making shots,” said Throckmorton, who also had eight rebounds.
Foul trouble and injuries plagued the Rams. Sophomore forward Kate Treadwell didn’t play after sustaining a concussion against Mt. Blue earlier this week while Doucette and Stephanie Comstock both fouled out in the fourth quarter.
But Johnson, Kim Jordan and Brianna McKenna rose up, particularly on defense while Johnson, who contributed eight points off the bench, came through when she needed to.
“Deidra was great, she played a great game tonight, she really stepped up for us,” Doucette said. “She was really a key player in tonight’s game.”
Coach Andy Nickerson’s Witches wanted to send Adams, the team’s lone senior, out on a high note.
“I think our kids are more disappointed for Amy then they are disappointed for themselves, and that tells you all you need to know about our team,” Nickerson said. “They’re all together as one, and I think their disappointment is bigger for their teammate than it is for themselves.”
Brewer’s character showed after it was down by seven in the fourth quarter after leading until the end of the third.
“We’ve been down by 40, 50, 60 points this year, and we haven’t given up,” Nickerson said. “We’ve never given up and we won’t give up, and because of that I think our program’s going to be a real solid program in the future.”
Lindsay Houp added eight points for Brewer.