AUGUSTA, Maine — The top-ranked Hampden Academy girls basketball team finally discovered its inner offense during the fourth quarter Friday night to hold off upset-minded Gardner 37-29 in a Class A North quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center.
The Broncos, relegated to the perimeter for much of the contest, was able to capitalize on its height advantage over the game’s final eight minutes and outscored the Tigers 18-6 after mustering just 19 points during the first three quarters of play.
That meant getting the ball inside to 6-foot-3 center Bailey Donovan, who amassed four points, seven rebounds, two blocked shots and an assist over the game’s final eight minutes in leading the Hampden rally.
The Broncos (17-2) will face No. 4 Lawrence of Fairfield (12-7) in Wednesday’s 4 p.m. regional semifinal. Lawrence held off No. 5 Brewer 51-37 in the evening’s earlier matchup.
Eighth-seeded Gardiner ends its season at 9-10.
Hampden trailed 23-19 at the start of the fourth quarter, but 3-pointers by Camryn Bouchard and Brooklyn Scott gave the Broncos the lead and served to spread out the Gardiner defense just enough for the Broncos to work the ball inside more consistently.
That created space for Donovan and frontcourt mates Sophia Narofsky and Braylee Wildman, who combined for 11 of Hampden’s final 12 points of the game.
Donovan finished with 14 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks while Wildman added six points and Narofsky and Scott combined for 15 rebounds.
Eight different players accounted for Gardiner’s offense, with Leslie Stevens and Aimee Adams leading the way with six points each.
But Gardiner struggled trying to shoot over the Hampden defense, making just 9 of 55 field-goal tries.
Neither team could get untracked offensively in the first half, which played right into the hands of the hustling Tigers, who used a 22-15 rebounding advantage over Hampden to grab a 17-15 lead at the break.
Donovan scored 51 seconds into the second half to tie the game, but neither she nor the rest of the Broncos scored again until Donovan converted on the inside with just 54 seconds left in the third period.
That came after Gardiner had scored six straight points and limited the Broncos to six shots in the interim — all missed 3-pointers — as the Tigers would maintain a 23-19 lead entering the fourth quarter.