June 18, 2019
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Defense leads Bangor girls past Cheverus in AA North quarterfinals

Pete Warner | BDN
Pete Warner | BDN
Riley Andrews of Bangor (left) dribbles around a screen set by teammate Abby Houghton (42) as Deering's Helena Bolduc tries to keep up during Thursday's Class AA North basketball quarterfinal at Red Barry Gym in Bangor.

BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor High School girls basketball team has taken pride in its defense all season long and it served the Rams well again on Thursday night.

The third-seeded Rams held No. 6 Cheverus to a 23.1 percent shooting performance from the floor and outrebounded the smaller Stags by 16 en route to a 50-38 victory in their Class AA North quarterfinal at the Red Barry Gym.

Bangor (12-7) takes on Deering of Portland in the semifinals next Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

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Cheverus, with just one senior on the roster, finished up at 5-14.

Sophomore forward Junior Libby Fleming paced the Rams with a game-high 13 points to go with eight rebounds. Junior guard Rowan Andrews had 11 points, four rebounds and two assists and Abby Fleming, Libby’s twin, and sophomore forward Maggie Cowperthwaite posted eight points each.

Pete Warner | BDN
Pete Warner | BDN
Libby Fleming of Bangor (32) looks to find an open teammate while being guarded by Lillie Singleton of Cheverus (15) during Thursday's Class AA North basketball quarterfinal game in Bangor. The Rams won 50-38.

Cowperthwaite had six rebounds and Abby Fleming grabbed four.

Meg Kelly’s 12 points topped the Stags. Lauren Jordan contributed eight points and eight rebounds and Lillie Singleton had eight points.

“We played real well,” Rowan Andrews said. “[Good] defense is our No. 1 goal. When we lock teams down on defense, we’re able to transition to offense.”

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“Defense is our main focus,” Abby Fleming agreed. “We box out, rebound and make sure we shut down the other team’s best shooters.”

Cheverus coach Brian Heal was impressed with Bangor’s player-to-player defense.

“They don’t give you a lot. They aren’t real tall but they’re long and they take up a lot of space,” Heal said. “They’re well-coached. They don’t gamble. They force you to take a shot you don’t want and they box out really well.”

Pete Warner | BDN
Pete Warner | BDN
Abby Houghton of Bangor is fouled by Lauren Jordan of Cheverus during Thursday's Class AA North girls basketball quarterfinal game at Red Barry Gym in Bangor. Cheverus' Lillie Singleton (15) and the Bangor bench look on. The Rams won 50-38.

Bangor held Cheverus without a field goal in the first quarter and to two in the first half in building a 23-11 halftime lead.

Bangor expanded the lead to 39-21 early in the fourth quarter.

But the scrappy Stags didn’t quit, reeling off 10 unanswered points to pull within eight with 3:56 remaining.

After Libby Fleming ended a long scoring drought for the Rams with a basket, Helena Bolduc and Jordan answered for Cheverus to whittle the lead to six.

But Rowan Andrews’ 3-pointer with 2:30 remaining gave the Rams some valuable breathing room and, after a Kelly free throw, Libby Fleming converted two foul shots with 1:20 left to sew up the victory.

Bangor never trailed, scoring the game’s first six points including a foul line jumper and a putback off an offensive rebounds by Cowperthwaite.

Pete Warner | BDN
Pete Warner | BDN
Libby Fleming of Bangor goes to the floor to gather in a loose ball as Emily Huntington (left) and Lillie Singleton (partially obscured) pursue the play during Thursday's Class AA North quarterfinal in Bangor.

A Kelly 3-pointer early in the second period cut Bangor’s lead to 8-5 and that was the closest Cheverus was to come as Bangor responded with seven straight points.

An 11-6 Bangor run in the third quarter gave Bangor a 34-17 lead.

“I thought we played really well,” said Bangor coach Joe Nelson. “The girls competed hard. Defensively, we had a really good first half and, overall, a really good game. We tried to limit their penetration, we got out on some of their shooters and we finished the possession with a rebound.

“Offensively, we had good ball movement and we attacked the basket when it was open at times. We were able to withstand their pressure, we had good spacing and we were able to score against their pressure,” added Nelson.

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