HERMON — The John Bapst High School girls basketball team parlayed balanced scoring and smothering defense into an impressive 53-41 Class B North victory over Hermon in a battle of unbeatens Wednesday night.
The Crusaders had four players with at least eight points, led by Crystal Bell’s 11 points and Abbey Legasse’s 10, and they held Hermon to a 30-percent shooting performance from the floor (14-for-46) with their in-your-face player-to-player defense.
John Bapst of Bangor improved to 8-0, while Hermon fell to 8-1.
John Bapst shot 44.7 percent from the floor (17-for-38).
“We did a pretty good job rebounding, we won the turnover battle and we made shots that we hadn’t been making all year,” said John Bapst first-year coach Chris Woodside, who was also pleased that eight of his players wound up in the scoring column.
Hermon won the rebounding battle 36-27, but Woodside pointed out that his team worked hard under the boards and made Hermon work for every rebound.
“It was a team effort,” said senior guard Legasse, who had a game-high five steals to go with her 10 points. “We did the small things.”
“We brought our ‘A’ game tonight,” said senior forward Caleigh Lebel, who had nine points and three rebounds.
“If you’re going to win, you’ve got to make shots and we didn’t do that tonight,” Hermon coach Chris Cameron said. “Bapst outplayed us.”
Bell had seven rebounds to accompany her 11 points, and she also had two steals and a blocked shot.
Senior forward Grace Philippon finished with eight points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals for the Crusaders. She had seven of her points, four of her rebounds and both steals in the second half to help prevent the Hawks from rallying.
Lacey Scanlon scored five points for John Bapst and Tia Zephir and Sydney Ellis had four each with Zephir also providing two assists, two steals and two rebounds and Ellis grabbing our rebounds.
Hermon received 17 points, 17 rebounds and four blocked shots, all game highs, from standout senior forward Lauren Plissey. Plissey also had two steals and an assist.
Caitlyn Tracy had seven points and Madi Curtis contributed six points and five rebounds. Grace Page had four points and three rebounds and Brooke Cowan had four points.
Hermon jumped out to a 5-2 lead, but the Crusaders outscored the Hawks 16-4 the first period to take a lead they would never relinquish.
Lebel converted a Philippon pass to start to the rally and then pumped in a 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it 7-5 with 3:20 left in the quarter.
After Page tied it with a shot from the paint, Bell sank two free throws and nailed a 3-pointer from a Zephir feed to build the lead to 12-7. Page hit a baseline shot to cut the lead to three but John Bapst scored the final six points of the period on two Ellis free throws, Ellis’ runner and Legasse’s layup.
Hermon used an 8-4 run in the second period to slice the lead to five with 2:20 left in the half but John Bapst went on a 7-2 run to close out the half and take a 29-19 lead into the intermission.
Scanlon had a pair of free throws, Tianna Cyr converted a Legasse steal and pass and Legasse hit a step-back 3 from the right elbow during the 7-2 spurt.
The determined Hawks kept trying to claw their way back into the game in the second half but couldn’t get any closer than six.
Whenever they would string together a spurt, the Crusaders would answer.
Hermon pulled within 34-27 with 1:51 left in the third quarter but Zephir hit a tough baseline runner in traffic and Bell rattled home a 3 off an Ellis pass to make it 39-27 after three and John Bapst led by double digits the rest of the way.
“We just weren’t patient enough in our offense,” Plissey said.
Follow BDN Maine Sports on Facebook for the latest in Maine high school and college sports.