AUGUSTA — Heading into the Class C girls’ basketball final, Madison was prepared to deal with two big strengths for Calais: The inside play of Nicole Osborne and the 3-point shooting of Brook Young.

Osborne and Young did their thing, but the players who finally won the game for Calais were a senior off the bench and a sophomore who played the best 90 seconds of her life.

Reserve forward Rebecca Blake had seven points and eight rebounds, and Allison Hill scored seven points in the final 87 seconds as Calais defeated Madison 44-38 on Saturday night at the Augusta Civic Center.

It’s the first Gold Ball for Calais since 2001, and the Blue Devils did it after going 11-6 in the regular season.

“We know that our fans didn’t really believe in us as much as they could,” Hill said. “So we wanted to show them that we could actually do it.”

Since Madison has no one taller that 5-foot-7, the Blue Devils concentrated mainly on going inside to the 6-2 Osborne and 5-10 Blake. Alex McVicar, a guard who scored 21 points when Calais defeated Washington Academy in the Eastern Maine final, took only one shot against Madison.

“They’re very tough inside,” Madison Coach Al Veneziano said. “I thought we did a good job with controlling them inside to a point. They’re very big.”

Osborne, who finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, had 11 points in the first half as Calais took a 19-14 lead.

Madison hung tough in the second half in large part because of Andrea Smith, who battled inside the whole second half after picking up three fouls before halftime. Smith had six points and eight rebounds in the second half.

“We talked about that, that there’s more game to play for her,” Veneziano said. “Three fouls doesn’t foul you out of the game. She set her mind to not fouling, and she worked very hard. Andrea had a very nice ballgame today.”

Calais Coach Dana Redding made a key move when he benched starting forward Shannon Brown and went to Blake, who hit three inside baskets in the third quarter.

“I really didn’t think I’d play that much, to be honest with you,” Blake said. “I was just hoping I’d get in when I got in.”

Young added a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter, but Madison guard Bianca Stoutamyer hit two 3s of her own. Madison was within four at the end of the third quarter and tied the score at 35 when Ali Russell (14 points, eight rebounds) made two free throws with 5:02 to play.

Calais regained the lead, but the Madison fans went wild when Smith drained a 3 from the right corner to put the Bulldogs up 38-37 with 3:03 to go.

After the teams traded turnovers, Hill charged down the court on a two-on-two break. Off balance, on the wrong foot and on the run, Hill tossed in a prayer of a shot and drew the foul. She made the free throw to put Calais up 40-38 with 1:27 left.

“In my family, it’s known my sister Courtney takes shots like that, too,” Hill said. “I learned it from her.”

Madison, which shot 23 percent for the night, would not score again. The Bulldogs watched as Hill made four more foul shots to ice the game.

“Usually, she’s not that good a foul shooter,” Redding said.

Russell, Smith, Stoutamyer and forward Marlisa Emerson each played their last basketball games for Madison, which finished 17-5 after going 8-11 last winter.

“The injuries that we had last year, with Ali and her knee and Bianca and her ankle, these kids to come back and work to have a season like they had, they should be very, very proud of themselves,” Veneziano said. “As a group, they’re tremendous.”

 

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

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