The third-seeded Bangor High School Rams parlayed their stifling 1-2-2 zone defense, balanced scoring and a domination in the paint to a 50-31 victory over turnover-plagued sixth seed Lewiston in their Class AA North girls basketball quarterfinal at the Red Barry Gym on Wednesday night.
Bangor (13-6) moves on to the semifinals for a 2 p.m. game on Thursday, Feb. 20, at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. The Rams play No. 2 Portland (16-3).
Bangor went 9-1 at Red Barry Gym this season with the only setback being a three-point loss to top seed and defending state champ Oxford Hills of South Paris in the regular-season finale.
Lewiston finished the season at 5-14, which included two regular-season losses to Bangor.
Senior guard Rowan Andrews scored 14 points and also provided four rebounds to pace the Rams. Junior forward Maggie Cowperthwaite contributed 11 points and three steals and freshman forward Abbie Quinn had 10 points and eight rebounds.
Speedy freshman guard Emmie Streams added six points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists.
Junior guard Emily Strachan returned after missing three weeks with an ankle injury to lead the Blue Devils with eight points. She also had two steals. Junior guard Jamyah Nicolas added seven points and the Foster sisters, Madeline and Lauren netted five points apiece.
Bangor first-year coach Jay Kemble said his team’s defensive intensity won the game, especially in the second half.
“They hit five threes in the first half because we weren’t getting out to the corners fast enough,” explained Kemble. “We were better at that in the second and they got only one 3-pointer. We had better anticipation and we got out on their shooters before they could square up.”
In a turnover-filled first half, Bangor built a 26-9 lead but the Blue Devils responded by rattling off a 10-2 run to close out the half and pull within 28-19.
But Bangor outscored Lewiston 11-4 in the third period to build a comfortable 39-23 lead and the Rams were never threatened.
“Bangor played really well,” Lewiston coach Lynn Girouard said. “We thought we had some stuff to combat their 1-2-2 but they are just so long it was tough to get a pass through.”
Lewiston shot just 11-for-37 from the floor and committed more than 25 turnovers, many of which were turned into transition baskets.
“We knew we had to pick it up [defensively] in the second half,” Cowperthwaite said.
“We started looking inside more. We connected our passes and we also pushed the ball up the floort which is our speciality,” Cowperthwaited said.
Cowperthwaite had six of her points in that decisive third-period showing by the Rams.
“We played well. We had a lot of energy. But we have to be cleaner in our next game,” Andrews said, referring to the Rams’ slew of turnovers.
Andrews said her team’s formidable inside game keyed by Libby Fleming, Cowperthwaite and Quinn enables her and the other guards to get open looks.
“I’m pretty lucky that we have such a good inside game,” Andrews said. “[Kemble] always says our outside shooting opens up our inside game and our inside game opens up our outside shooting.”