AUGUSTA, Maine — Tournament time is also time for the Hampden Academy girls basketball team to ratchet up its defense, and if Friday’s Class A North quarterfinal is any indication, the second-seeded Broncos may not be the clear favorite to win a second straight regional title but won’t be an easy out, either.
Coach Nick Winchester’s club limited No. 7 Erskine Academy of South China to just 10 field goals while senior forward Bailey Donovan nearly matched the Eagles’ total offense with 25 points as Hampden cruised to a 44-26 victory at the Augusta Civic Center.
“We talked pregame and all week prepping for this that we wanted to set a tone defensively,” said Winchester. “I feel like we play good enough defense on a routine basis that if we take pride in it at this time of year we’ll give ourselves a chance. I think offensively we can get 40 or 45 a game so if we can hold teams to less than 40 we’ll be in every game we play.”
The 6-foot-3 Donovan also grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds and blocked four shots on the back line of a Hampden defense that also featured strong work from guards Camryn Bouchard and Sydney Hodgdon.
“This wasn’t our best defensive effort, but we did a good job of switching and we’ve definitely been talking a lot more on defense and that’s made things a lot easier for us,” said Donovan.
Hampden takes a 15-4 record into Tuesday’s 7 p.m. semifinal against No. 3 Lawrence of Fairfield (13-6). Lawrence, which split two regular-season games with Hampden, defeated No. 6 Medomak Valley of Waldoboro 57-33 in Friday’s first quarterfinal.
Erskine Academy concludes its season with a 10-9 record.
Donovan helped break the game open with nine third-quarter points after Erskine had hung within 23-15 at intermission. The Broncos’ newest 1,000-point scorer fought off double- and triple-teams from Erskine’s defense by working the low post for shots with both her left and right hands, and Donovan also scored 11 points directly from offensive rebounds.
“I thought we weathered a lull in the second period but we did the things we needed to do to maintain the lead,” Winchester said. “Then in the third quarter we started going to Bailey and she asserted herself.”
Bouchard added six points and Hodgdon scored five for the Broncos.
MacKenzie Roderick and Lydia Boucher scored six points each to pace Erskine.