Defense made the difference for the Brunswick High girls’ basketball team in a Class A South semifinal against York on Wednesday.

The top-seeded Dragons forced 33 turnovers and held No. 4 York to 10 points or fewer each quarter in a 52-23 victory at Cross Insurance Arena.

Brunswick will play No. 2 Greely for the regional championship at 6 p.m. Saturday at CIA. It will be a rematch of last year’s final, won by the Dragons, 54-51.

Marley Groat led the Dragons (20-0) with 14 points and Rian Sachs had 13. Groat went 5 for 5 at the foul line as Brunswick made 15 of 16 free throws.

“It’s just focus and that’s what we’ve been working on: our focus in the game,” Groat said. “It showed today.”

Nina Howe finished with seven points for York (11-9); Jacquelyn Tabora had six for the Wildcats.

“I thought we did a great job today, getting hands in the passing lane,” said Brunswick Coach Sam Farrell. “I think we gave them fits for most of the game, which is the goal.”

In the first quarter, Alexis Guptil broke a 2-2 tie with a field goal for the Dragons to kick off a 10-point run. On York’s following possession, Sabrina Armstrong stole the ball and fed Sachs under the basket, setting her up for a three-point play.

Guptil added a pair of free throws before Armstrong hit a 3 that put the Dragons up 12-2 with a minute and a half left in the first quarter.

Howe scored her first points before the end of the quarter to cut Brunswick’s lead to 12-4 heading into the second.

The Dragons continued to pull away, outscoring the Wildcats 15-7 in the second to enter halftime up 27-11.

Tabora opened the third quarter with a field goal for York – a chance she created for herself with an aggressive offensive rebound.

“We followed the game plan perfectly – the only lapses were they were scoring on second and third chances,” Farrell said. “When we took those away, it was a really strong game for us.”

It was the only two points York scored that quarter, as back-to-back 3s from Sachs and Groat kicked off another 12-point run that carried into the fourth.

Down 39-13 with 7:30 left in the game, York strung together a seven-point run that pulled it within 19 points with five minutes left, but the Dragons outscored York 13-3 from there.

Ferrell said keeping his team’s energy level up in the fourth quarter was a bit of a struggle, given the substantial lead.

“The air kind of left the gym,” Farrell said. “We weren’t pressing because they did a good job adjusting to our press, and the girls want to press. … So I took that away from them, and that kind of affected the energy level.”

However, that certainly won’t be a problem against Greely, which Brunswick edged 65-63 on Dec. 29 when Groat scored the winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. The Rangers were playing without their top scorer, Anna DeWolfe, in that game.

“It will be a whole different game,” Farrell said of the rematch. “It’s just going to come down to who makes plays.”

Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or

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