Some of the faces might be different, but the Gorham girls’ basketball team took a big step Thursday night toward a third straight Class AA state championship.

The fifth-seeded Rams opened a 15-point lead after one quarter on the road, and behind the dominance of post standout Mackenzie Holmes and freshman Adele Nadeau, they went on to a 63-37 victory against fourth-seeded Maine Girls’ Academy.

“We came out wanting it,” said Nadeau, who had 13 points, five rebounds and three steals. “Our goal was to get out, push the ball in transition and play as a team.”

Gorham (12-7) scored the first 15 points and led 17-2 after one quarter, with Nadeau scoring seven points.

“We need Adele to score,” said Gorham Coach Laughn Berthiaume. “We can’t just rely on Mackenzie.”

Maine Girls’ Academy (13-6) didn’t hit a field goal in the first quarter and committed seven turnovers.

“(Gorham) moved well, made their shots and played good team basketball,” said Lions Coach Billy Goodman. “They deserved to win. We had nerves in the first quarter I haven’t seen.”

The Rams went up by as much as 21-2 on a Nadeau jumper before the Lions started to show life late in the half, pulling within 27-12 on a 3-pointer from Catherine Reid.

Holmes had eight points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots in the first half.

“Mackenzie didn’t disappoint,” Berthiaume said. “She has to help us break the press, and we’ve spent a lot of time trying to get better at that.”

Maine Girls’ Academy got the first four points of the second half as Reid made a runner and a layup, but Gorham gradually restored control and got the final six points of the third quarter, capped by a putback from Jacqui Hamilton to make it 47-25.

Holmes’ dominance on both ends of the floor – 21 points, 17 rebounds and five blocked shots – prevented the Lions from ever becoming a serious threat.

“It’s a new season,” Holmes said. “We had intensity from the beginning. One through 10, we all worked really hard.”

The Rams advanced to meet top-ranked South Portland in the semifinals at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Cross Insurance Arena.

The Red Riots lost to the Rams in the regional final the past two years but won at Gorham 54-44 on Feb. 3.

“We still have the same goal,” Holmes said. “We’ll take it game-by-game and try to improve, and see what happens.”

Reid paced the Lions with 19 points.

“I don’t think we were predicted to have a home playoff game this year, so to get a home game in a strong AA South was incredible,” said Goodman. “The girls coming back know what they need to work on. We’ll see what next year brings.”