AUGUSTA — While Traip Academy had trouble even getting a shot at the beginning of its Class C South girls’ basketball semifinal Thursday afternoon, second-seeded Boothbay bolted to a 14-2 lead.

It looked like the 11th-seeded Rangers were in danger of being blown out. But Boothbay knew better.

“They are better than what their seed says,” noted Boothbay senior Chloe Arsenault. “They upset two teams already, so we had to keep going.”

Traip never quit, but Boothbay never trailed, holding on for a 46-32 win at the Augusta Civic Center.

Boothbay’s Glory Blethen shoots over Traip Academy defenders during a Class C South semifinal Thursday at the Augusta Civic Center. Boothbay advanced its third straight regional final with a 46-32 win. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Seahawks junior Glory Blethen led all scorers with 18 points. Sophomore Jaelyn Crocker and junior Kylie Brown each added nine.

Traip guard Abby Hale scored eight points.

Traip Academy’s Marlee Sumsion blocks a shot by Boothbay’s Jaelyn Crocker. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Boothbay (18-2), the defending state champion, moved into the South final at 6 p.m. Saturday against No. 1 Winthrop (18-2), a 62-36 winner over Old Orchard Beach.

Although the Ramblers are the top seed, their two losses were against Boothbay, both in January – 51-49 and 55-51. In those games, Boothbay attacked the boards. Winthrop did beat Boothbay in the Mountain Valley Conference championship game.

“If we’re not doing well in a game, it’s probably because we’re not rebounding the basketball,” Boothbay Coach Brian Blethen said. “It will be a key Saturday.”

Rebounding helped the Seahawks on Thursday, as they had a 31-20 advantage. Boothbay grabbed 13 offensive rebounds, compared to four by the Rangers.

“In our last game, we dominated (No. 3 North Yarmouth Academy). We made a lot of shots, but we also got a lot of rebounds,” Traip Coach Scott Blake said.

“Today, we didn’t make as many shots, and we didn’t get any rebounds.”

It took a while for the Rangers to even attempt a shot, as they turned the ball over on their first five possessions. Then Jen McCluskey scored on a drive, but the next four possessions ended with three missed shots and another turnover.

“We started with turnovers right off the bat. Then we’re chasing the rest of the game,” Blake said. “But we were in it. The girls played hard. We didn’t give up.”

Traip had a deceiving 8-10 regular-season record, with five of their losses coming to Class A and B teams.

“We knew they played harder teams in the south,” Arsenault said.

The Seahawks also knew that Traip likes to play a zone defense, with a zone press. Boothbay still had some trouble with it.

“We knew it was coming, but then, somehow, their zone defense threw us out of our rhythm,” Brian Blethen said. “Sometimes you have to win (ugly). It was not our most stellar, refined performance, but you just have to find a way to work through those things and get a win.

“We’re usually a better foul shooting team that that (15 of 26). Luckily, we (have) some experience on the team and they know how to work through that stuff, and deal with me barking at them.”

Glory Blethen was the go-to player, but others stepped up, including Brown, who drilled four jumpers. Arsenault helped regroup the offense while scoring seven points.

“Boothbay is a really good team. It’s not like you can guard one person,” Blake said. “They (have) enough girls that hit outside shots that it makes it difficult to worry about Glory, who’s phenomenal.”

Traip got some inspired defensive play from Hale, guard Kiki Huntress, forward Emma Ackerman and center Marlee Sumsion. “But we just couldn’t get closer,” Blake said.

In the other semifinal, Winthrop did not score a point for almost five minutes, but held Old Orchard Beach to only four points. Eventually the Ramblers got going, stretching a 13-8 first-quarter lead to 31-12 at halftime and 50-29 after three quarters.

Senior Kena Souza poured in 19 points, including four 3-pointers. Freshman guard Sage Fortin hit three 3s and finished with 15 points, and senior guard Aaliyah WilsonFalcone was a defensive force while scoring 12.

Shani Plante led the Seagulls with nine points. Elise MacNair added eight.

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