Thursday, December 5, 2013
The Augusta Civic Center is the Richmond girls basketball team's home away from home.
CUTTING DOWN THE NETS: Richmond captains Jamie Plummer, top, and Danica Hurley cut down the net after the Bobcats won the Western Maine Class D championship Saturday afternoon at the Augusta Civic Center.
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
STATE BOUND: Richmond’s Jamie Plummer leaps above her teammates as they celebrate their 3-2 victory over Buckfield in the Western Class D softball championship game last spring at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. The Bobcats’ junior class has one state title and will be looking for another this season.
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
CLASS D GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Who: Richmond (19-1) vs. Washburn (20-1)
What: Class D state championship
When: 1:05 p.m. Saturday
Where: Augusta Civic Center
When the Bobcats walk into the locker room Saturday prior to the Class D state championship game, it will be the ninth tournament game in a row they've occupied the space given to the No. 1 seed.
"It's like a season of home games," Richmond coach Molly Bishop said. "They're very comfortable there."
The No. 1 seeding isn't exclusive to basketball, though. The team's junior class, of which there are seven, has been the top seed in Western Maine for a total of eight basketball, soccer and softball tournaments. That's every sports season for the past three years.
Along the way, the Bobcats have won six Western Maine championships and three state titles, two in soccer and one in softball.
"We've pretty much seen it coming," junior Noell Acord said. "We had undefeated middle school teams."
The playoff appearances aren't lost on Bishop, who says her players have more tournament experience than she does. The team has formed a bond that extends well before middle school and has survived the high school drama of boyfriends and driver's licenses.
"Ever since we were little we've always been successful," center Jamie Plummer said. "We're all competitive and we all like to win."
Plummer is the leading scorer and rebounder on the basketball team and a pitcher on the softball team. An injury prevented her from playing soccer last fall so she served as the team's manager. Her sport is basketball, but at a school the size of Richmond -- 150 students -- everyone has to pitch in.
Danica Hurley and Lindsy Hoopingarner are the lone seniors on the basketball team. Soccer is their sport and they both were key contributors to Richmond's second straight state championship last fall. But they're no less enthusiastic about basketball season.
"From the beginning our focus has been sports throughout high school," Hurley said. "They've really become a passion for most of us."
The list of three-sport athletes on the team includes the two seniors, juniors Plummer, Acord, Brianna Snedeker, Payton Johnson and Ciarra Lancaster, and sophomore Emily Leavitt. Those that don't play three sports generally play two, including junior Alyssa Pearson and sophomore Mindy Harrington.
"We all just seem to go from one season to another," Plummer said. "This group of girls, we just live for sports."
Good coaching has been a component of Richmond's success. Bishop, who is also the school's athletic administrator, is the rookie of the group with six years experience. Softball coach Rick Coughlin has been at it for 25 years while soccer coach Troy Kendrick just completed his 23rd season.
"I've been lucky," Acord said. "It's nice to have them in the building. Any problems, whether it's school or sports, they're always there for us. Plus, they know what they're doing."
A basketball state championship is the only one that has eluded the Bobcats. They've won eight in soccer and four in softball. They face a daunting task Saturday against Eastern Maine champion Washburn, which beat them 43-30 in last year's state final.
"We know we can do it," Acord said. "Last year we got down on ourselves and expected to lose."
Win or lose the team will be looking forward to the next season Monday.
"They're all really good friends, sort of like sisters in a way," Bishop said. "They love each other one moment, challenge each other the next."
Gary Hawkins -- 621-5638
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No. 1 again: The Richmond girls soccer team holds up the Gold Ball after winning the Class D state championship in the fall. This year’s junior class has won two state soccer titles.
Portland Press Herald photo by Gabe Souza