AUGUSTA, Maine — With her team coming off two straight losses, Bangor girls basketball coach Katie Herbine wasn’t sure what to expect facing defending Eastern Maine Class A champion Cony at Viles Auditorium on Friday night.
“In our game with Lawrence [at Fairfield on Wednesday], I felt we were a little antsy,” she said. “But we came here and they did a nice job.”
Bangor jumped to a big lead early, then turned back a couple of runs by Cony to post a 64-46 victory.
“We had a nice chat about that [losing streak] the other day,” said a smiling Cordelia Stewart. “We worked it out in practice and worked it out here.”
The 6-foot-2 sophomore forward scored 11 of her 13 points in the first five minutes of the game, helping push Bangor (5-2) to a 19-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“It helps to start strong,” said Stewart.
Point guard Denae Johnson added six points in the opening quarter for Bangor.
“It felt like the whole team was playing well,” Stewart said.
Both teams pressured the ballhandlers, forcing some turnovers and difficult shots for both sides.
The teams were tied at 6-all when Stewart scored seven points over a 1:15 span, putting Bangor ahead for good.
Cony’s Josie Lee and Emily Quirion tried to keep their team in the game, but Cony put up a lot of 3-pointers in an effort to stay away from Stewart and fellow 6-2 sophomore guard/forward Mary Butler.
Cony attempted 26 3s, nearly half of their 60 field goal attempts, but only hit six. Bangor held Cony to 15-of-60 shooting from the floor overall.
“What it comes down to is we lack a lot of size,” said Cony coach Karen Magnusson.
Lee, a guard in the past, has had to move to the frontline.
“I was impressed with her,” said Herbine. “She’s a guard by build but she did great things inside.”
And that’s where Cony still struggled against the taller Bangor squad.
“They have very good size and they got a lot of great looks,” said Magnusson.
Butler finished with 17 points, Stewart and Johnson posted 13 each and Sarah Bragg added 12 for Bangor.
Lee, a senior, scored a game-high 20 points for the hosts, with Emily Quirion and Alyssah Dennett getting nine points apiece.
Bragg hit a 3-pointer to kick off the second quarter and put Cony in a 16-point hole.
Cony (4-4) tried to get back into the game with Lee drives to the basket and 3-point shots, but each time the hosts closed the gap, Bangor put on another spurt and jumped well ahead again.
Lee scored seven points in the third quarter and Quirion hit three free throws with 6.9 seconds left in the third to make it 38-32 Bangor, but Butler drilled a 3-pointer of her own from the top of the arc with 0.1 seconds on the clock to spark Bangor.
The visitors pushed the lead to 14 with 5:21 remaining in the fourth quarter when Bragg hit two field goals and two free throws in a span of 1:07.
Johnson then added layups off three steals, two by Jordan Seekins and one by Johnson, to seal the victory.
“Our defensive intensity helps set the tone for the whole game,” said Stewart.
Bangor also hit 5 of 9 free throws in the final 2:08, which doesn’t look strong but it’s an improvement that Herbine appreciates.
“We shot 75 each in practice [Thursday],” she said. “I think we’ll keep doing that.”