Top-ranked Brunswick moved one decisive step closer to defending its Class A South girls’ basketball championship with a 74-25 victory against ninth-seeded Falmouth in a quarterfinal Monday night at the Portland Expo.

The Dragons grabbed control early, improved in the second quarter and played their best basketball in the third.

“They know what it takes to work hard. They’re used to playing during this week, which is different because we don’t have school, and they’ve played in these buildings so they’ve gotten used to it,” said Coach Sam Farrell.

Charlotte MacMillan scored 17 points and Marley Groat added 12 in a balanced offense for the Dragons.

Fellow starters Rian Sachs (9 points), Sabrina Armstrong (9) and Alexis Guptil (8) contributed at both ends. MacMillan, Groat, Armstrong and Emily Larochelle (8 points) each made two 3-pointers.

“We’re pretty good at finding the open people and moving the ball really well, and getting it to them,” MacMillan said.

“We’re all about (working) together and everyone doing multiple things.”

Brunswick (19-0) will face fourth-seeded York (11-8) in the semifinals at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Cross Insurance Arena.

Falmouth (6-14) was slowed by having two players injured and two more sick since its preliminary win at Morse. Grace Soucy, its leading scorer and senior captain, was unable to play after being diagnosed with mononucleosis.

Allison Cunningham (7 points) and Karley Piers (4 points) did provide some second-half energy and hustle off the bench for Falmouth.

“I was just super proud of the girls for getting here,” said Falmouth Coach Dawn Armandi. “I think they deserved to be here and it’s two years in a row (they have) been back here, and Falmouth hasn’t done that in seven years.”

The Dragons were superior in all facets in the first half, outscoring Falmouth 37-12, forcing 14 turnovers and getting 3-point baskets from five players and scoring from six.

MacMillan had the hot hand early in the second quarter, scoring nine points in 1:20, starting with a four-point play.

But the Dragons weren’t satisfied and began striving for improvement even before reaching the Expo’s basement locker room.

“They weren’t too happy with some of the things we did in the first half,” Farrell said.

“They were talking to each other the whole way down, fixing things we weren’t doing right. They were coaching each other up.”

The defense immediately forced another slew of turnovers.

“Our defense is a key component to everything we do,” Armstrong said.

Brunswick’s full-court pressure and a quick-strike offense resulted in 17 points in less than 3:22, with Groat scoring seven.

Brunswick led 60-20 after three quarters and rested its starters for most of the fourth.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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Twitter: SteveCCraig