BANGOR — The defending Eastern Maine Class A champion Bangor High School girls basketball team returned just one starter off last year’s team and that starter, 6-foot-1 junior Mary Butler, made her debut as a point guard in their mutual season-opener against Lewiston Friday night.
Butler scored 12 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and fueled the Rams’ fast break with her rebounding, ball-handling and passing and sophomore guard Sarah Bragg poured in a game-high 19 points as the Rams beat the Blue Devils 62-42.
The taller Rams outrebounded Lewiston 42-21 and limited Lewiston to 32.1 percent shooting from the floor behind their effective 1-2-2 zone and man-to-man defenses.
“They transitioned unbelievably well,” Lewiston coach Mike Labonte said. “We were surprised how well and how quickly [Mary Butler] got the ball up the court. She did a great job.”
“We wanted to push the ball up the floor and it worked pretty well,” said Butler. “We have a lot of kids who can run the floor and that made my job easier. I’d look up and I’d have a lot of people to pass to. We all moved up the court as one unit.”
“We’ve worked a lot on our fast break and it worked real well tonight,” said Bragg.
“In the KVAC, the expectation is to have the taller kids play inside but we’ve changed that up a bit,” added Butler.
Her 6-foot freshman sister Katie Butler scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Junior forward Sydni Cosgrove and junior guard Eve George contributed eight and seven points, respectively, for Bangor. Emily Gilmore grabbed seven rebounds.
Senior forward Brie Wilson’s 10 points paced Lewiston. Senior guard Jenessa Talarico and junior forward Amanda Swart had eight points apiece. Talarico also had six rebounds and five steals.
Bangor broke the game open with a 13-0 run that spanned the first and second quarters.
That gave them a 20-8 lead.
Cosgrove started it with a 10-foot turnaround jumper and Bragg nailed a 3-pointer from the right side.
Mary Butler scored with a jumper from the left side of the foul line, sister Katie sank a pair of free throws and Emily Gilmore muscled home an offensive rebound before George opened the second quarter with a short jumper off a rebound.
Maegen Mathon’s 3-pointer from the left corner ended Bangor’s run and provided Lewiston with its first points in 6 minutes, 17 seconds.
Lewiston closed to within nine on a couple of occasions but Mary Butler’s steal and layup closed out the half to give Bangor a 30-17 edge at the intermission.
The pesky Blue Devils, seeking their first EM Class A tournament appearance since 2006 and coming off a 5-13 season, stayed within 12 but every time they had a chance to close the gap even further, Bangor would respond with a stop and some points.
Bangor finally put the game away with a run of 12 straight points in the fourth quarter.
Katie Butler had eight of the 12 points.
“It was a great win,” said Bangor coach Katie Herbine. “On the first night, there are always some nerves. But the kids came out and played hard. They played tough and you like to see Bangor teams playing tough and working hard.”
“We were real good at maintaining the ball and passing it around. Sooner or later, their team is going to get tired and somebody is going to be open,” said Bragg.
Lewiston’s Wilson said Bangor’s height was problematic and they didn’t shoot well.
“If we had made our outside shots, we would have been fine,” said Wilson.
JV: Lewiston 45-40 (2OT)