AUGUSTA, Maine — Junior center Bailey Donovan, who played the final 6:47 of regulation play and overtime with four fouls, scored five of her team’s nine points during the extra period as Hampden Academy outlasted Messalonskee of Oakland 42-37 to capture the Class A North girls basketball championship at the Augusta Civic Center on Friday night.
The 6-foot-3 Donovan opened the overtime scoring with a basket after grabbing an offensive rebound to snap a 35-35 tie, then made all three of her free-throw attempts as the top-ranked Broncos never trailed in extra time en route to the program’s first regional title since 2011.
“It feels so good. We’ve been working so hard this season to get this, and it’s so good to finally have this done,” said Donovan.
Coach Nick Winchester’s club (19-2) will advance to the Class A state final at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland next Thursday night to face the winner of Saturday night’s Class A South final between No. 1 Brunswick (20-0) and No. 2 Greely of Cumberland Center (18-2) in Portland.
Third-ranked Messalonskee, the defending state champion, concludes its season with a 14-7 record.
Donovan led a balanced Hampden attack in the regional final with 11 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots despite sitting out the late stages of the first half after picking up her second foul and nearly five minutes of the second half after drawing her fourth.
Braylee Wildman added 10 points for the Broncos while Alydia Brillant scored nine.
Ally Turner scored a game-high 14 points for Messalonskee while Gabrielle Wener added 13.
Hampden held Messalonskee scoreless for nearly eight minutes midway through the first half, scoring 14 unanswered points during that stretch to build a 19-7 lead as the Broncos had considerable success working the ball inside.
But Messalonskee bounced back after Donovan picked up her second foul, and the Eagles used an eight-point run of their own to close out the half and draw within 19-15.
Messalonskee spotted Brillant a baseline jumper to open, but the Eagles’ Alyssa Genness went to work offensively against the taller Donovan and not only scored three quick points but induced Donovan’s third foul.
And when Donovan picked up her fourth after grabbing a defensive rebound with just under three minutes left in the third quarter, Messalonskee went on the offensive.
In particular, Turner began using her 5-foot-11 frame to go to the less-defended basket and scored Messalonskee’s final seven points of the period, including a spin move with 33 seconds left that gave the Eagles a 27-26 lead entering the fourth quarter.
That margin grew to as much as 30-26 on a short jumper by Katie Seekins with 6:02 left, just after Donovan re-entered the game.
“I would have liked to have gotten to 4 ½-4 minutes, but when we got down I just felt that this was it, we had to make a run so I put her in with seven to go,” said Winchester.. “It was earlier than I would have liked, but I just felt like we had to play her and see what we’d get.”
Donovan’s return took away Messalonskee’s inside offense, enabling Hampden to run off seven straight points to take a 33-30 lead on a three-point drive to the basket by Brillant with 1:21 to go.
Wener answered with a game-tying 3-pointer for Messalonskee with 1:05 to go.
Marissa Gilpin then drove the lane to give Hampden a two-point edge with 39 seconds left before Mikayla Wilson scored her first basket of the night on a low-post move to re-tie the game at 35-35 with 13 seconds to play.
“I definitely was surprised he put me back in that early,” said Donovan. “I thought he’d keep me out until about four minutes but I knew I had to pull it together and play strong on defense.”