AUGUSTA, Maine — Senior forward Gavin Herrin converted a traditional three-point play with 1:16 remaining and Lawrence High School sank seven of eight free throws the rest of the way to beat Skowhegan 47-40 Friday night and win its first Class A North title since 1999 at the Augusta Civic Center.
Fourth seed Lawrence of Fairfield (13-8) plays in next Friday’s 7:45 p.m. Class A state championship game at the Augusta Civic Center.
Skowhegan, the seventh seed, wound up 10-11.
Herrin’s 3-point play off a baseline drive gave Lawrence a 40-35 lead and some valuable breathing room.
“(The defender) came out high so I was able to get by him on the baseline,” said Herrin, who banked in his shot while getting fouled.
He nailed two free throws 24 seconds later.
Kobe Nadeau and Adam Duprey each hit two free throws and Herrin added another.
“Free throws win games,” said Skowhegan coach Tom Nadeau, whose team went 7-for-13 from the foul line.
“We had been struggling at the foul line but we have been shooting a lot of them in practice and it has helped us,” said Duprey.
“I think every player on our team has shot over 1,000 free throws in practice,” said Lawrence coach Jason Pellerin. “Our seniors stepped up on the foul line. That’s how seniors are supposed to do it.”
Nadeau finished with 12 points, five assists and four rebounds for Lawrence. Herrin (6 rebounds) and Duprey (5 rebounds) scores 10 points each. Nick Robertson contributed seven points.
Chase Carey’s game-high 15 points and four rebounds led Skowhegan. Marcus Christopher had 11 points, four rebounds and two assists and Matush Prokop produced nine points and six rebounds.
The Bulldogs played tenacious man-to-man defense and forced a lot of turnovers that turned into transition baskets.
Lawrence built an 11-2 lead and expanded it to 21-8 in the second period.
Speedy guard Jackson Dudley had six points in the run, Deprey and Nadeau had four points apiece and Nadeau also had three of his assists during it.
But the Bulldogs went cold from the floor and Christopher rallied the Indians to within six at the half. The rugged Christopher took the ball aggressively to the basket and scored six points during an 8-0 surge that closed out the half.
Carey, who was held scoreless in the first half, came alive in the second half as he scored six straight points to open the half. He converted two offensive rebounds and made a nice spin move before hitting a six-footer to make it 22-21 with 4:25 to go in the third period.
Nick Robertson’s free throw had opened the second-half scoring for Lawrence.
Duprey’s tip-in broke Lawrence’s long basket-less drought and two Nadeau free throws made it 26-21.
But the Indians stayed within striking distance and when Jimmy Reed stole the ball and fed Nick Robertson for a layup with 1:30 left, the Indians had pulled within 37-35.
But Herrin’s 3-point play and the Bulldogs’ free throw shooting enabled them to hold off Skowhegan.
Deprey said one of the team goals is to hold the opponent to 12 points or less per quarter and they accomplished that goal by holding Skowhegan to 40 points.