BANGOR — John Bapst played strong defense and hit some big shots down the stretch to stay undefeated Saturday afternoon, earning a 32-26 girls basketball victory at the Bangor Auditorium over a stubborn Hermon team that had dealt the Crusaders their only regular-season loss last winter.
Coach Mike Webb’s club improves to 8-0 while Hermon falls to 4-4.
Morgan Chasse and Samantha Gormley led a balanced John Bapst offense with nine points each while the Crusaders hit 14 of 37 fie-d goal attempts compared to 10 of 32 for Hermon.
The undersized Hawks frustrated the Crusaders throughout the first half with a 2-3 zone, holding 6-foot-1 center Gormley in check. Hermon double-teamed her in the post and attacked the rim offensively to get Gormley in foul trouble, as she committed three fouls by halftime.
Bapst was tentative offensively, and Hermon held a four-point lead midway through the second quarter before the Crusaders fought back to a 19-19 halftime tie.
“Our kids weren’t attacking the zone, weren’t doing what we were supposed to be doing,” said Webb. “We need to attack zones.”
The Crusaders scored the first five points of the second half, including Morgan Chasse’s right-corner 3-pointer that gave Bapst a 24-19 edge.
After Hermon’s Erin Arnold hit a 14-foot jumper with 5:33 left in the period to bring the Hawks back within three, the Crusaders tried to force the Hawks out of their zone by freezing the ball for the next five minutes.
“We knew once we could get a lead they couldn’t play with us man-to-man, so we just tried to pull them out of their zone,” said Webb.
“Once we got a lead and they wanted to stay in the zone, I’d just as soon sit there with a 3-4 point lead.”
Knowing the possession arrow was in the Crusaders’ favor to start the fourth quarter, and since the Hawks were sitting back in their zone, Bapst wasn’t about to take any chances.
“We were trying to make them come out and play defense and get them out of their game,” said Chasse.
“We had worked on it in practice and for some reason we didn’t execute well so we tried a new tactic by trying to make them come out and play,” she added.
Bapst kept slowing things down at the start of the fourth, and the Hawks were drawn out of their comfort zone and forced to play the bigger Crusaders man-to-man, and the hosts took advantage.
Sam Maquillan’s 12-footer with 4:22 to play gave Bapst its biggest lead at 27-21, and though the Hawks drew within three on two occasions, the Crusaders made all the big plays in the waning moments against a Hermon team that has given Bapst fits at the Auditorium.
“For whatever reason we struggled here last year against Hermon. We struggled today against Hermon,” Webb said. “They’re a very good basketball team.”
Gormley also had nine rebounds.
Arnold’s nine points led Hermon while Marissa Kelley scored eight.