HAMPDEN — Tuesday night’s girls basketball Class A game against Brewer may not look like a masterpiece in the boxscore, but victories are the only statistic that matters to the Hampden Academy girls basketball team.
The Broncos used their depth and quickness on defense to wear down the gritty Witches, with Julia Snyder leading all scorers with 10 points for a 59-31 victory in Hampden’s home opener.
Hampden, 2-0 heading into Friday’s showdown with reigning regional champion Skowhegan, struggled at times offensively against a quick Brewer team (1-1) that made penetration to the basket difficult.
“We didn’t attack the way we attacked against Bangor, but I give a lot of credit to Brewer, their defense (is) much better,” Hampden coach Chad Bradbury said. “They jumped to the ball in the paint, their defense hindered our ability to catch and attack, we stood around a little bit.”
Kate Parsons scored nine points and and Michaela Stephenson had eight for the Broncos.
The Witches held the Broncos without a field goal over the contest’s first four minutes and took a 5-1 lead on Rylee Hutchins’ 3-pointer from the left wing, but Hampden scored eight straight second-chance points — four coming from Snyder — while Sarah Lamberton gave Hampden the lead for good with a steal and layup with 10 seconds to go in the period.
The Broncos’ defense then turned the tables on the Witches in the second quarter, outscoring Brewer 17-4 with Stephenson’s perimeter shot from up top capping that surge.
“In the beginning we weren’t necessarily knocking down everything, but I think in the end we had a fairly good (shooting) percentage,” said Stephenson.
A lot of that had to do with Brewer’s defense.
“They had a lot of intensity in the beginning and it just took us a while to get used to it, but after a while we stepped it up,” said Snyder, who hauled down six rebounds and grabbed six steals.
Hampden scored the first 12 points of the second quarter to take control, with Jordan Maxwell’s driving layup putting the Broncos up by double figures to stay.
The Broncos’ defense was strong for the second time in as many games, forcing 25 Brewer turnovers while committing only nine themselves, while 11 different Hampden players contributed at least two points.
“What’s great is that any given night one person may be on, one person may be off and we don’t have to rely solely on one person,” Stephenson said. “I think altogether it was a great team effort.”
The hardworking Witches did a solid job of attacking the basket against the taller Broncos, and were rewarded with 18 trips to the foul line, but coach Andy Nickerson’s club made only four shots from the stripe.
“They’re going to come up with some wins, they play solid defense. If they had made a good amount of free throws, they (would’ve) been right there,” Bradbury said.
Hampden wound up with 11 offensive boards.
“Boxing out was a big factor and to get all the second-chance points we just had to box out,” Snyder said.
Freshman Maddy Bailey was Brewer’s leading scorer with five points.