Sunday, December 8, 2013
By MATT DiFILIPPO Morning Sentinel
AUGUSTA - Maybe there was an opportunity or two for Richmond to make it a completely different game Saturday in the Class D girls' basketball state final. But that's just a maybe, and as it turned out, every time the Bobcats had a chance to make a move, Washburn was there to take control.
Richmond's Jamie Plummer, left, and Washburn's Rayah Saucier get tangled up while going after a rebound during the Class D girls' state championship game Saturday in Augusta.
Photos by Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal
Jamie Plummer, left, chats with teammate Alyssa Pearson on the Richmond bench as time runs down during their loss to Washburn.
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
In the end, Washburn defeated Richmond 60-35 at the Augusta Civic Center. The victory gave the Beavers their second consecutive gold ball, as they also defeated Richmond in last year's final.
Mackenzie Worcester, a 5-foot-5 freshman guard, had 24 points and eight rebounds for Washburn. Olivia Doody, a 6-foot junior center who started for the first time all season, added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Jamie Plummer led Richmond with 14 points, 20 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Plummer, a 6-foot junior forward, got extra attention from Washburn's defense, and most of her 21 field-goal attempts came under heavy pressure.
"We worked on a lot of help defense over the past week, watching the cuts and the screens because they always try to catch her on the move, and she has that nice move right to the basket," Doody said. "We worked on taking that away, and just making sure we knew where she was at all times."
Washburn (20-1) has no seniors on its roster, and the team's unfamiliarity with the Augusta Civic Center may have been a factor in the early going. More than three minutes into the game, the Beavers had committed five turnovers and trailed 5-0.
"We're a very young team, and I think there were a lot of nerves coming into today," Doody said. "It's a new court. We just had to get it out eventually, and it worked for us."
Richmond couldn't take advantage of Washburn's slow start. The Bobcats missed 10 of their first 11 field-goal attempts, and their 5-0 lead disappeared as Worcester scored seven quick points. Richmond was 2 for 18 in the first quarter and finished 14 for 65, or 22 percent.
"You mean the 18 layups we didn't make in the first half?" said Richmond Coach Jill Bishop. "Yup, I'd have to say that might have been an issue in the outcome of this game."
Danica Hurley, Richmond's senior point guard, picked up her third foul just before halftime, then got her fourth 57 seconds into the second half and sat for more than seven minutes. By the time she returned, Washburn led 43-31 at the start of the fourth quarter.
"Danica's a born leader," Bishop said. "The kids look to her. It's a comfort to have her on the floor.
"If you noticed, as soon as Danica came out, there were a couple of quick turnovers in the backcourt, which started to make people panic a little bit."
With Hurley out for so long, Richmond lost its offensive flow, and couldn't get closer than 12 points in the fourth quarter. Doody scored eight of her 12 points in the fourth quarter, and she was in tears while holding the gold ball after the game.
"I was injured my first two years," Doody said. "Freshman year, I broke my tailbone. Last year, I broke my foot. So this is my first year really playing basketball. It's just a lot different, actually helping the team win this year."
It was a different kind of tears for the Richmond players. But the Bobcats still finished 19-2 and graduate only Hurley and Lindsy Hoopingarner.
"It's a phenomenal season for this group of kids," Bishop said. "Where else do you want to end up? Isn't this the goal, is to get to this game?"