PORTLAND, Maine — Youth and speed overwhelmed size and experience Thursday night as Greely of Cumberland Center defeated Hampden Academy 53-38 at the Cross Insurance Arena to capture its first Class A state championship.
The Rangers, who previously won four Class B state titles, used their defensive pressure to force 22 Hampden turnovers. Many of those led to immediate transition offense as coach Todd Flaherty’s club built a double-digit lead by early in the second quarter and maintained a significant cushion the rest of the way.
“We watched (Hampden) play a lot this year and there’s just no way we could walk it up and down against them, they would have killed us,” said Flaherty. “We had to speed the game up.”
Sophomore guard Brooke Obar paced a balanced Greely attack with 17 points and six rebounds while Anna DeWolfe, who already has committed to continue her playing career at Division I Fordham University, had 16 points, four assists and three steals.
“She is super quick,” said Hampden coach Nick Winchester of DeWolfe, a 5-foot-7 junior guard. “She’s got great ball instincts. She just reads the offensive player’s instincts so well that when a girl starts to make a move she makes a dart and the ball’s going the other way.”
Freshman Camille Clement added 10 points for the Rangers.
Junior center Bailey Donovan paced Hampden with 13 points, 17 rebounds and six blocked shots. Sophia Narofsky added six points for the Broncos.
Greely, which did not start a senior, concluded its season with a 20-2 record. Hampden, which was seeking its first state championship since 1976, finished at 19-3.
“I’m not sad at all,” Winchester said. “I really felt like we set out with a bunch of goals when the season started and they really wanted to get to this point.”
Hampden made it look easy for the game’s first two minutes, working the ball inside for a Donovan follow-up shot before Alydia Brillant buried a 3-pointer from the left wing as the Broncos raced out to a 6-0 lead.
By the time they scored again, 5:54 had elapsed and Greely used its team quickness to rip off 15 unanswered points to take a 15-6 lead with 1:58 left in the opening period.
DeWolfe was the catalyst with three steals and eight early points as Hampden struggled mightily to get the ball past half-court.
A baseline drive by Marissa Gilpin ended the Greely run, but the Rangers followed with 12 more unanswered points, including eight in a row by Obar, to extend the lead to 27-8 with 4:26 left before halftime.
“We knew were were going to have to handle their pressure,” said Winchester. “That was that 5½-minute stretch. We called a couple of timeouts to try to get organized, and they just took the moment.”
Hampden did have some success working the ball inside in the final minutes before intermission, as Narofsky scored twice and fed Donovan for a layup to help draw the Broncos within 29-15 at halftime.
Hampden then scored the first nine points of the third quarter to draw within 29-19 after back-to-back layups by Donovan and Wildman.
But once Greely starting converting some shots it was able to apply its trapping pressure again and soon went on a nine-point run of its own to push the lead back to 38-21 on Julia Martel’s three-point play off a fast break with 2:27 left in the quarter.
Greely’s advantage was 44-24 at the end of the third quarter, and Hampden got no closer than 15 over the final eight minutes.
“The defense has really done it for us this year,” said Flaherty. “I’m not sure at the beginning of the year we would have believed that because we had so many good offensive players.”
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