BANGOR, Maine — Sophomore guard Mackenzie Worcester combined inside and outside moves to post 32 points and propel the top-seeded Washburn Beavers to an 87-42 Eastern Maine Class D girls basketball semifinal victory over No. 5 Machias on Thursday afternoon at the Bangor Auditorium.
The Beavers, the two-time defending state champions and 20-0 this season, take on No. 2 Schenck of East Millinocket in Saturday’s 9:05 a.m. EM championship game. The Wolverines (17-4) held off No. 3 Hodgdon 54-52 to earn their berth.
Worcester did not engineer Washburn’s win over the Bulldogs (16-5) singlehandedly.
Junior guard Carmen Bragg put up 17 points, junior forward Carsyn Koch hit a hot streak early and finished with 10 points and junior forward Nicole Olson drilled three 3-pointers in the first half for her nine points.
“I was hoping our [transition game] would come out,” said first-year coach Diana Trams. “In our first game, we didn’t, so we made sure we got out and ran.”
Junior forward Becca Lee led Machias with a dozen points, freshman center Tate Dolley recorded 11, sophomore guard Angleana Lyons added 10 and Caroline Proctor had eight.
Washburn took control of the game early.
Machias got the opening tip, but the Beavers stole the ball immediately and Bragg drove in for a layup and converted a free throw for a conventional three-point play.
The Bulldogs couldn’t catch the Beavers after that.
With her team up 6-2, Koch registered three baskets in 26 seconds to push the Beavers’ lead to 10 points. Two of them came off steals, including one by Koch.
“That’s our style,” said Worcester. “We want to pressure the guards and create easy steals and easy baskets.”
Most of the rest of the game was more of the same, long scoring runs by Washburn interrupted by a basket here and there by Machias.
“We were slow in transition,” admitted Machias coach Brad Prout, “and for the first time, I saw we played with some fear.”
Washburn’s half-court zone trap complemented by the Beavers’ determined coverage of the passing lanes prevented Machias from making the scoring flurries it needed.
“We’ve been working on our half-court trap,” said Trams. “We find that works better for us.”
Worcester finds it allows the Beavers an easier time jumping into the passing lanes.
“We create a hard angle to pass to,” she said.
If a team tries passes high inside or tries a long skip pass, Worcester said, “we have quick players, and they’re good at anticipating the pass.”
Making steals and causing other turnovers is the key for Washburn, said Trams.
“If we get points off turnovers, we’re usually in good shape,” she said.
Worcester was strong in each of the first three quarters, scoring eight points in the first, 10 in the second and 12 in the third. She made three 3s.
But others contributed batches throughout the game as well.
Koch scored eight of her 10 in the first quarter; Bragg posted five in the first quarter and six each in the second and third, while Olson added six in the second quarter.
“We like to get all five players [on the floor] involved,” said Worcester.
“Today, we shot well,” said Trams as the Beavers were 34-for-67 from the floor and 12 of 16 at the line.
All of this will be helpful, said Worcester, in their next game.
“We’re going to have to work hard to beat Schenck,” she said.