BANGOR, Maine — Sophomore center Cordelia Stewart and sophomore forward Mary Butler powered the Bangor girls basketball team to a 56-36 victory over rival Brewer in the first game of Thursday night’s Twin Cities Basketball Classic at the Bangor Auditorium.
The Bangor boys played Brewer in the second game as the rival schools marked the end of Class A basketball at the Auditorium, which will be replaced by the Cross Insurance Center next season.
The games were the regular-season finales for all four schools.
Both girls teams will be in the Eastern Maine Class A playoffs next week. Bangor (14-4) will probably be either second or third in the final Heal points. Brewer will play Cony of Augusta in a prelim game, with the site to be determined by whether Cony won or lost Thursday night.
Thursday’s game was a battle underneath as the Rams tried to use their extra height — Stewart and Butler are both 6-foot-2 — to gain the edge on the Witches. Morgan Small and Emily Gilmore are listed at 5-10 and are the tallest Brewer starters.
“Their size overwhelmed us,” said Brewer coach Andy Nickerson. “Our margin of error is so small because of our size. [The Rams] did what they needed to do.”
More than scoring, Butler thought Bangor’s rebounding was even more important.
“I think we hit the boards hard tonight,” she said. “That helped us with our transition game.’
It also didn’t hurt that Bangor was able to convert a number of offensive rebounds.
Stewart, who posted a game-high 21 points, converted three offensive rebounds directly and added a fourth hoop when Butler picked off an offensive rebound and passed to Stewart underneath.
Butler, who registered 16 points, added an offensive rebound conversion of her own as well.
Brewer senior center Small knew rebounding was going to be difficult for the Witches.
“From playing them the first time, we knew they would be big underneath,” she said. “We had to box them out and try to take as many rebounds as we can.”
Freshman guard Sarah Bragg added eight points for Bangor.
Small paced the Witches (9-9) with 15 points, and freshman forward Gilmore had eight points.
After a slow start as the teams adjusted to the tight quarters under the baskets, Bangor went on a 10-1 run to close out the first quarter for a 14-3 lead. The closest Brewer came after that was nine a couple of times, the last being at 43-34 on a Maddy Bailey basket with 6:42 remaining in the game.
“We’ve talked all season about being a second-half team,” said Bangor coach Katie Herbine. “They did a good to pull it back together [defensively].”
The Witches were able to get only one basket the rest of the way, as the Rams outscored Brewer 9-0 in the final five minutes.
Bangor forced Brewer outside late in the game but challenged the shooters more, and the Rams held Brewer to 2-for-16 shooting from the floor in the fourth quarter.
Herbine liked her team’s defensive effort.
“I was happy we were able to switch defenses, so if one wasn’t working, we could could go to another,” said Herbine. “They took a good step in the right direction.”