AUGUSTA — A tight Old Orchard Beach defense hampered unbeaten Richmond and its inside game. The Bobcats needed other weapons. They had none.

Old Orchard Beach dominated the second half and beat top-seeded Richmond 38-24 in a Class C South girls’ basketball semifinal Thursday afternoon at the Augusta Civic Center.

The Seagulls trailed 17-14 with 3:56 left in the first half but took over from there.

Old Orchard Beach went on a 23-0 run over the next 16 minutes and 31 seconds, tying the game before halftime and jumping ahead 37-17 with 3:25 left in the fourth quarter.

“We played very good defense,” said junior forward Meghan LaPlante, who is listed on the roster at 5-foot-9 but plays as if she’s much taller.

LaPlante led OOB with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

No. 4 Old Orchard Beach (13-8) will play in the South final at 7 p.m. Saturday against No. 3 Monmouth Academy (18-3).

Richmond, which beat the Seagulls twice during the regular season, finished at 19-1.

Guard Mackenzie Abbott led Richmond with nine points, but the Bobcats’ 5-9 center, Sydney Underhill-Tilton, who averaged 17.5 points a game, was held to five, all in the first half.

“We focused on double-zero (Underhill-Tilton) a lot,” junior point guard Brianna Plante said. “She is a great player and we doubled down on her.”

When Underhill-Tilton did get the ball, she had LaPlante and 6-2 center Maggie Strohm swarming her.

“We knew coming in that she was probably going to be double-teamed,” Richmond Coach Mike Ladner said. “We needed to make our outside shots.”

Not only did the Bobcats miss from the outside, but in a tightly officiated game – 22 fouls in the first half – Underhill-Tilton got into foul trouble. She picked up her fourth foul with 4:48 left in the third quarter and left the game. She returned with 5:38 remaining in the fourth and fouled out two minutes later.

“That stuff doesn’t get called during the regular season with two officials,” Ladner said. “But kudos to the officials; they did a good job. It’s a tighter game, that’s all.

“She got in foul trouble and our offense usually runs through her. When she’s not there, it makes it tough. It forces us to shoot from the outside, and we couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn from the outside today.”

Richmond shot 16 percent, including 1 of 15 in the second half.

Meanwhile, the Seagulls were heating up. They shot 40 percent, and of their 12 field goals, five were 3-pointers from four players – Emily Greenlee, Samantha Donnell, Kaitlyn Cote and Plante (two).

Richmond senior guard Meranda Martin said this was a different Old Orchard Beach team than the one the Bobcats beat by 15 points last month.

“They were a lot stronger than they were during the regular season. Give them kudos,” Martin said. “They made their shots and in the third quarter we couldn’t make anything.”

Old Orchard Beach, which survived a schedule that included Class B opponents, will play Monmouth for the first time this year.

“We play a tough schedule,” Coach Dean Plante said. “The regular season is a bit of a grind but it helps in the long run. Maybe we’re built for the postseason.”

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

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