BANGOR, Maine — With their game against Lawrence tied early in the second quarter, the Bangor girls basketball team took advantage of its height to start to put the game away Tuesday night at Red Barry Gymnasium.
Six-foot sophomore forward Mary Butler started passing the ball into 6-foot sophomore center Cordelia Stewart, and Stewart scored eight points in two minutes to propel the Rams to a 71-57 victory over the Bulldogs of Fairfield.
“I knew when [Butler] missed that layup early that she was going to have a tough night shooting,” said Bangor coach Katie Herbine. “I said to Mary, instead of passing the ball outside on offense, go in to Cordy.”
Stewart kicked off her eight-point run for the Rams with a pair of free throws to put Bangor up 24-22 with 5:19 remaining before halftime. She then converted two passes from Butler into layups before Lawrence’s 5-11 freshman center, Nia Irving, hit one of two free throws.
Stewart and Butler then worked the outside-to-inside pass play again for another Stewart layup with 3:12 left in the half for a 30-23 edge.
“She made some awesome passes,” said Stewart of Butler’s assists.
“Mary passes the ball so well,” said Herbine. “She’s a threat every time she has her hands on the ball. She did a great job of finding Cordy.”
Lawrence coach John Donato could see it was going to be a tough game for his Bulldogs.
“It was like a layup drill for them,” he said.
Stewart was 9 for 13 from the floor and posted a game-high 22 points. Butler also converted a few layups and a 14-foot jumper from the right baseline en route to 13 points.
“They’re very skilled,” said Herbine. “They’re learning how to play tough.”
“If we don’t match up with them on the boards, we struggle, and that’s what happened tonight,” said Donato, whose team defeated Bangor 63-54 in Fairfield on Jan. 2.
“We can’t afford to give up the paint,” Donato added.
Lawrence (12-5), which was ranked third in the Eastern Maine Class A Heal points coming into the game, closed the gap to 33-29 at halftime, but Bangor (which was No. 4) pulled away in the second half.
The 71 points were the most the Rams (13-4) have scored this year.
Seniors Denae Johnson and Jordan Seekins also posted 13 points for Bangor on Senior Night, and another senior, Carly Cosgrove, had five.
“Denae is a great passer, too,” said Herbine. “She did a nice job tonight, and it was a great game for Carly.”
The other three seniors, who all played, are starting forward Rachel Taft plus Paige Morrill and Bri Bowlan.
Irving powered Lawrence with 34 points, including 21 in the first half. Paige Belanger added 10 points.
Irving was strong inside like Stewart and Butler, but she couldn’t overcome both of them.
“You can’t depend on one person all the time,” said Donato.
Stewart liked the challenge.
“It’s always good to play someone your own size,” she said.
Irving scored 21 points in the first half, but the Rams gave her more trouble in the second half.
“Moving your feet and staying low helps,” said Stewart.
She likes the way the Rams are performing as they have one more game left in the regular season, Thursday at 5 p.m. against Brewer at the Bangor Auditorium.
“We’ve come together as a team toward the end,” Stewart said.