AUGUSTA, Maine — Lauren Young isn’t one to force the issue on the basketball court, routinely preferring to facilitate her teammates’ offense.
But when the Bangor Rams desperately needed a basket late Thursday afternoon, the 5-foot-6 junior point guard delivered.
Young’s 3-pointer from deep along the right wing was her team’s only field goal during the final seven minutes of play, but it was just enough to enable No. 5 Bangor to hold off No. 4 Cheverus 46-44 in a Class AA North quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center.
“Honestly, everything’s a group effort,” said Young, who finished with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. “I got the ball because everyone else was working hard. I was just the one who got it. It could have been anyone.”
The win advances Joe Johnson’s club, 9-10, to Tuesday’s 5:30 p.m. semifinal against top-ranked Oxford Hills (17-1) of South Paris. Those teams split two regular-season meetings.
Cheverus — which defeated Bangor 52-30 in their only regular-season meeting on Jan. 6 — ended its season with an 11-8 record.
Bangor led 34-15 after a 15-foot jumper by senior center Katie Butler two minutes into the third quarter, only to have Cheverus (11-8) use full-court defensive pressure to trigger a furious comeback that drew the Stags within 42-39 before Young took a pass from Megan Connor and connected from long range with 2:26 left in the game.
“For Lauren to take that shot was huge because I’ve had to take her out of games this year because she wouldn’t shoot,” said Johnson. “She’s a reluctant shooter with a very good shot.
“It was nice that it was right in front of me so I could say ‘Swish’ when it went in for her,” he said.
Young’s 3-pointer gave Bangor a six-point lead at 45-39, and while it didn’t provide much of a cushion against a momentum-filled Cheverus team led by junior guard Abby Cavallaro, it proved to be just enough.
“I kind of let out a sigh of relief when she made that,” said Butler, the game’s dominant inside presence with 20 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots. “We were in a bit of a rut, and coach has been telling her to shoot all year, so when that went up, I trusted that it was going in, and it really was such a relief.”
Cavallaro countered with a 3-pointer and then fed senior guard Allison Tillotson for a layup to pull the Stags within 45-44 with 53 seconds left.
Connor then made one of two free-throw tries six seconds later before Cheverus came up empty on a 3-point try and a follow-up shot as time expired.
“We knew we had it,” said Young with a slight laugh. “We were confident. I don’t really think we had doubts.”
Cavallaro had a game-high 25 points and six steals for Cheverus, and teammate Emme Poulin added 10 points.
Bangor dominated the opening half, limiting Cheverus to 5-of-31 shooting from the field while building a 31-13 lead behind 10 points and nine rebounds from Butler.
“We came out with a lot of confidence, which we don’t usually do,” said Butler. “We executed our plays and played really tough defense.
“But it got a little scary in the second half,” she said.