BANGOR, Maine — Here’s a tip for the Western Maine champion Richmond Bobcats: Don’t attempt to get into a track meet with Washburn.
After all, the Beavers feature a trio of cross country standouts, including sophomore guard Carsyn Koch, winner of the last two state titles.
“We have a lot of girls that run cross country and are able to get down and back really quickly,” Koch said.
The Beavers flew up and down the Bangor Auditorium hardwood in Saturday’s Eastern Maine Class D girls basketball championship, with freshman Mackenzie Worcester scoring 20 points and Koch 19 as top-ranked Washburn overwhelmed No. 7 Hodgdon 68-44.
The defending Class D state champions (20-1) will try to make it a repeat against Richmond Saturday in Augusta while Hodgdon finishes the year 15-7.
Washburn beat Richmond 43-30 last winter.
Early on, the scrappy Hawks managed to hang around thanks to early Washburn foul trouble and eight points by Haley Gardner, and then Hodgdon closed the first quarter on an 10-4 run to erase a 10-point deficit.
But Washburn coach Mike Carlos knew his club would assert themselves with their athleticism at some point, and the Beavers outscored the Hawks 15-4 in the second quarter to forge ahead 35-20 at the half.
Junior center Olivia Doody came off the bench to score eight points during that period, and the Hawks had no answers.
“It’s all about timing,” said Carlos. “If you start her, then they make adjustments early. If you wait and bring her in, it’s harder to make adjustments on the fly.”
Jenna Steamer, who had been a force in the paint for Hodgdon throughout the tournament, was held to two first-half points thanks to Washburn’s quickness on the defensive end.
“She was really good underneath, I just decided it was my job to not let her get the ball,” said Koch, who also had four steals and five rebounds.
The Beavers’ full-court pressure had a little to do with that, too.
“Because of the pressure out front it was harder for us to get set with [Steamer] down on the block, which we were afraid of,” said Hodgdon coach Vaughn Farrar.
Koch scored 12 of her points in the second half to help Washburn stretch out its lead and extinguish any hopes of a rally by the Hawks, and Doody finished with 14 points, giving the Beavers a solid sixth-man presence after Nicole Olson was relegated to the bench with foul trouble.
“She (Doody) works them hard down there in the post, she came [back] from a broken foot last year,” said Koch. “She worked her fanny off and was able to do well.”
Along with Koch, Carmen Bragg was a force on Washburn’s press, as she came up with four steals while dishing out three assists. Worcester also had four steals and three assists while Joan Overman contributed three steals.
While the Hawks did turn the ball over 23 times, many of those weren’t self-induced mistakes.
“I think the first quarter we did OK then after that, it was extreme pressure,” Farrar said. “I think that wore on us.”
But Farrar’s players had nothing to hang their heads about, and many of them had smiles on their faces during the postgame ceremonies.
“I’m very proud of them,” he said. “This was a big deal to them. I have two girls who have never been in this building before.”
Steamer and Lacey McQuarrie paced Hodgdon with 12 points apiece while Haley Gardner finished with 11.