February 22, 2013

Eastern Class A girls' basketball: Bangor breaks a long drought

By Matt DiFilippo mdifilippo@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Cony got the shots it wanted and had the right opponents in foul trouble. The Rams had momentum and they were playing in their backyard.

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Still, Bangor had 6-foot-1 Mary Butler and 6-foot-2 Cordelia Stewart. And when Cony's shots didn't fall, the rebounds went where you'd expect them to go.

No. 2 Bangor outrebounded ninth-seeded Cony by 25 and took control with a second-quarter run on the way to its first Eastern Class A girls' basketball title since 1982, winning 57-43 Friday night at the Augusta Civic Center.

"Bangor's a very, very good team," Cony Coach Karen Magnusson said. "They rebounded well. I'm not sure what the (rebounding) margin was, but I know there was a margin."

"For Cony, their tallest kid is 5-8," Bangor Coach Katie Herbine said, "and I think that's definitely a tough task to try to rebound against 6-1 and 6-2."

The final totals were 54 rebounds for Bangor and 29 for Cony. Stewart had 13 rebounds and Butler grabbed 11, but the real crusher was 5-5 point guard Denae Johnson, who hauled in 14 rebounds. Cony's top rebounder was 5-8 Josie Lee, with eight.

Bangor used its height advantage to open a 12-2 lead less than five minutes into the game. When Bangor missed a shot, Stewart or Butler was there for a putback -- unless one or the other took the first shot and got a layup.

Cony got as close as 13-11 on a 3-pointer by Alyssah Dennett with 58 seconds to go in the first quarter, then got even more momentum when Butler picked up her second and third fouls early in the second quarter.

At that point, Bangor led 15-12, and Stewart had two fouls. But the Rams outscored Cony 16-4 the rest of the half.

"That was something that we focused on," Magnusson said. "We knew we had to try to get them in foul trouble. We tried to attack them quite a bit. When that happened, we didn't get to go on our run that we wanted to go on at that point -- which proves that they're more than just those two post players."

Cony finished the game shooting 16 of 68 (24 percent). Lee scored 15 points. Stewart had 18 points for Bangor.

Cony, the defending regional champion, had to win a preliminary-round game on the road just to get to the Civic Center, then knocked off the No. 1 and No. 4 seeds.

"We have to be proud," Magnusson said. "They weren't out there just running around. They worked really, really hard. Anyone that watched them would have appreciated the type of games that they played here at the Civic Center."


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