BANGOR — The opener can often set the tone for the rest of the season and the Hampden Academy girls made a strong statement Saturday afternoon.
The Broncos dominated in every facet of the game, forcing 31 turnovers and getting a consistent offensive effort as coach Chad Bradbury’s club stampeded to a 74-36 Class A basketball victory over Bangor at Red Barry Gym.
Senior guard Katelyn DeRaps led all scorers with 23 points on 8-for-17 shooting for the Broncos, while Ashley Danforth had 15 points and five steals and Michaela Stephenson nine points and six steals to lead a balanced attack.
Hampden jumped all over the Rams early, starting the game on an 11-0 run, with DeRaps scoring seven of those points. Danforth scored 13 of her points in the second half.
The Broncos had nine players crack the scoring column.
“That’s very big because that means no team can focus on just one of our players and if they do, they’re going to get a surprise because all of our players play really well,” DeRaps said. “Everyone can contribute, everyone can shoot, everyone can drive.”
Bangor struggled offensively throughout the contest, as the Broncos’ ball pressure forced the Rams into bad passes which led to a bulk of their turnovers. Coach Katie Herbine’s club didn’t hit a field goal until Hillary Throckmorton’s follow-up jumper in the lane with just over 3 minutes to go in the opening period.
Herbine knows the offense will come eventually as the Rams break in an uptempo-style offense.
“One thing I just shared with the team was we’re playing a much different style than played in the past. We’re going to have some growing pains here as we learn how to run and learn how to push the ball,” she said.
The Rams did close to within nine at halftime and trimmed the deficit to seven early in the third quarter, but DeRaps took over again, canning a shot from the top of the key and a baseline runner, with a steal and layup by Stephenson sandwiched in between, to restore Hampden’s double-digit cushion.
Seven different Broncos had at least one steal as Hampden used its quickness and athleticism to wear down the Rams.
“We really just focused on really good ball pressure and from that other people can get in the passing lanes, and ball pressure causes bad passing,” Danforth said.
Even though Bangor applied full-court pressure often, the Broncos’ veteran guards did a solid job on press-breakers.
“We’ve been working on that in practice a lot, trying to move around the press, and work around it,” Danforth said.
The Broncos took advantage of Bangor’s lack of a post presence and attacked the rim frequently, particularly the aggressive DeRaps.
“We were just focusing on attacking because a lot of teams know that we are a good outside shooting team but we can also drive to the hole,” DeRaps said.
Even though the Broncos did a strong job defensively and only turned the ball over 15 times, Bradbury felt his team was a little too aggressive at times.
“We’ve got to stop fouling, but the defensive intensity was good,” he said.
Sophomore Jordan Maxwell contributed eight points off the bench in her varsity debut for Hampden.
Bangor’s lone double-figure scorer was Throckmorton, who had 14 points.