HAMPDEN, Maine — The Bangor girls blended height, speed and tenacious defense to overwhelm Hampden Academy 56-26 Friday night as the Broncos hosted the school’s first varsity basketball game in their new gym.
“It was good to get into a rhythm on offense,” said Bangor’s 6-foot-2 sophomore forward Mary Butler. “We were working through the offense pretty well.”
Her fellow 6-2 sophomore, center Cordelia Stewart, muscled her way to a game-high 18 points, mostly from layups.
“She had an awesome game. She has a strong mentality to score,” said Butler, who posted 15 points.
They accounted for almost 60 percent of Bangor’s scoring.
“Definitely, we use our height to our advantage,” said Butler.
Senior guard Denae Johnson ran the Bangor offense, and she slashed her way to the basket a lot in transition and also scored 15 points.
Butler got the ball rolling by scoring nine points in the first quarter, mostly from in close but she also hit a 3-pointer from the top of the circle. It was Bangor’s only made 3.
Stewart came on with six points in the second quarter, while Johnson heated up to the tune of 10 third quarter points. Stewart complemented her with eight in the quarter.
“Bangor, credits to them. They played out of their minds,” said Hampden coach Chad Bradbury. “The big girls obviously gave us trouble.”
Meanwhile, the Ram defense was clamping down on the Broncos.
“They’re very big,” said Hampden senior guard Ellie Webb. “They’re defense is hard to penetrate into. They could block our shots easily.”
Butler registered three blocks and Stewart two.
Bangor coach Katie Herbine said, “They bought into what we’re running, and they really like it. We’ve been working with them on following the rules [for the matchup zone]. Those are our rules.
“And we got out on their shooters.”
Laura Marquis led the Broncos with seven points, and Kayla Gagner posted five, mainly due to Bangor contesting their shots.
“They have extremely busy hands,” said Bradbury.
The Rams got a quick basket from Jordan Seekins just 16 seconds into the game and never trailed.
Bangor pulled out to a 7-0 lead before Casey Black put Hampden on the board with a free throw. The Rams scored the next seven again and led 14-4 at the end of the first quarter.
After a better start by the Broncos in the second quarter to cut the gap to 14-8, Bangor scored 27 points in a row over the rest of the second quarter and half of the third to put the game out of reach at 41-8.
“We missed some bunnies early, and sometimes that can get into your head,” said Herbine, “but they managed to flip that mindset and started making them. I’m proud of ’em.”
Hampden started finding its range on jumpers in the fourth quarter, but the baskets were mostly confidence builders at that point.
Bradbury admitted he expected a tough opener.
“I was not overly surprised with Alexa [Winchester] out of the game. We missed her leadership out on the floor.”
Winchester, a senior guard, missed the game with a sprained ankle.
“Hopefully, she’ll be ready Tuesday,” said Bradbury.
He had to take his time finding a bright spot in the game.
“We competed for the whole 32 minutes,” he decided.
Webb expects they’ll play better as the season continues.
“Definitely, I think we had first-game jitters. I know we’re a better team than that,” she said.