AUGUSTA — Anna DeWolfe landed on a foot not her own and fell to the floor in pain, grabbing her left ankle as a hush came over a capacity crowd inside the Augusta Civic Center.

Could this be the end of Greely’s perfect season? Would a second straight state title evaporate with the Rangers’ star guard unable to lead the way?

“My mind started racing,” said Greely Coach Todd Flaherty. “But she’s a tough cookie. It didn’t take long for her to tell me she wanted back in.”

After a little more than a minute of game time on the bench, DeWolfe returned and didn’t come out again until the Rangers had wrapped up the Class A girls’ basketball state championship Friday night with a 54-42 victory over Hampden Academy.

She finished with 28 points, six assists and eight steals as smaller but quicker Greely (22-0) of Cumberland hounded Hampden (17-5) into 30 turnovers. The Broncos fell behind 5-0 and trailed only 12-10 when DeWolfe went down, but an 8-0 run that included 3-pointers by sophomore Camille Clement and DeWolfe put Greely into the driver’s seat.

The Rangers led 28-17 at halftime and maintained a margin of at least six points throughout the second half, despite 11 turnovers of their own and a poor outside shooting night.

Bailey Donovan led the Broncos, who also lost the title game to Greely last March, with 18 points and 11 rebounds. At 6-foot-3, she towered above the Greely defenders, who swarmed fore and aft and pestered Hampden’s ball handlers throughout the game.

“It’s just relentless pressure,” said Hampden Coach Nick Winchester. “Whether it’s in the half court or the front court, it’s 32 minutes of constant pressure on the ball, running people at you.”

The victory stretched Greely’s winning streak to 38 games and marked the sixth Gold Ball in program history. After returning the bulk of last year’s squad, Flaherty said he felt the burden of expectations this season.

“It’s kind of a relief for me, to be quite honest,” he said. “Last year was just exuberance. This will sink in. It was plenty of fun. But it’s nice to get it behind us.”

Greely stole the ball 17 times, but Donovan’s intimidating presence prevented the Rangers’ usual paths to the basket, and their midrange shots repeatedly bounced out. The Broncos kept hanging around. Donovan, Amelia McLaughlin and Sydney Hodgdon each hit a 3-pointer in the third quarter as Hampden made it 38-32 before DeWolfe sank a 15-footer in the final seconds.

“All I wanted them to do was battle all game long, and they battled,” Winchester said of the Broncos. “They weren’t intimidated. They didn’t back down, and I’m most proud of that kind of effort.”

In the fourth, Hampden got no closer than seven points, as DeWolfe and Clement – celebrating her 16th birthday – each hit from long range. Clement finished with 14 points and three steals. Brooke Obar made back-to-back 3-pointers in the third quarter.

“I think my teammates really stepped up on defense and they played outstanding,” DeWolfe said. “They found me when I was open. I found them when they were open. We played together. We played as one.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or:

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