PORTLAND—It was close for a quarter.

But then, Brunswick’s top-ranked girls’ basketball team flipped the switch and left No. 8 Westbrook in its wake in Monday’s Class A South quarterfinal at the James Banks Portland Exposition Building.

The Dragons, the preseason favorites, continued their stellar play by stretching a 14-9 first quarter lead into a 33-13 halftime advantage, thanks to a 15-0 second period run.

The Blue Blazes, who have improved dramatically as the season has progressed, got as close as 17 in the third quarter, but Brunswick pulled away for a 58-31 victory.

Sophomore Alexis Morin led the way with 16 points, junior Dakota Shipley and senior captain Kelsie Carlton also finished in double figures as the Dragons improved to 17-2, ended Westbrook’s season at 11-8 and advanced to take on No. 4 Falmouth (12-7) in the semifinals Wednesday at 2:45 p.m., at the Expo.

“They don’t ask how or by how many,” said Brunswick coach Sam Farrell. “We just came together. We ran our sets and made shots when we needed to.”


Breathing fire

Brunswick was upset by Greely in last year’s regional final and has been on a mission ever since.

The Dragons entered the 2022-23 campaign as the favorite in the region and didn’t disappoint, winning 16 of 18 games and losing only by a point at Gray-New Gloucester and at home by four points to Class AA powerhouse Oxford Hills (see sidebar for links to previous stories).

Westbrook, meanwhile, wasn’t on anyone’s radar back in early December, but the Blue Blazes managed to go 11-7, riding an early five-game win streak to big things.

The teams played in the season opener, way back on Dec. 9, where Brunswick rolled at Westbrook, 75-31.

Monday, the game was closer, but the Dragons were never seriously pushed.


Brunswick junior Dakota Shipley protects the ball during Monday’s quarterfinal round win over Westbrook.

A free throw from Carlton opened the scoring before the Blue Blazes took their only lead on a driving layup from senior Leah Cromarty.

With 6:54 to go in the first quarter, Morin scored her first points, a layup off a feed from Shipley, and Brunswick was ahead for good, 3-2.

Carlton added a runner and after sophomore Kylie Young made a short jumper for Westbrook, Shipley sank two free throws, then Shipley made a layup after a steal.

Cromarty got two points back with a layup, but Morin made a free throw, then junior Maddy Werner drove for a layup before Werner set up Shipley for a layup.

Late in the frame, freshman Lyla Dunphe drove for a layup, then Dunphe made a free throw with 11 seconds left to cut the deficit to 14-9, but the Blue Blazes wouldn’t score again for a long time.

In the second period, the Dragons quickly broke it open.


Shipley got a run started with a free throw, then Morin drained a 3 before Morin set up Shipley for a layup, forcing Westbrook coach John Young to call timeout.

It didn’t help, as Carlton drained a 3, Werner drove for a layup, Shipley set up Carlton for a 3 from the corner in transition, then with 2:57 on the clock, a Morin foul shot capped the 15-0 run.

“We had a bunch of steals in there,” Farrell said. “It was active teamwork moving the ball. We don’t have to take the first look. Patience is hard to teach high school kids, but when we’re patient, we’re tough to stop.”

With 2:22 to go in the half, two free throws from Kylie Young snapped a 5 minute, 44 second scoring drought. Young added two more foul shots, but late in the half, sophomore Eva Harvie drove for a layup, then Morin scored on a putback and Brunswick was in command at the break, up, 33-13, thanks to nine points apiece from Carlton, Morin and Shipley.

Morin opened the second half with a 3-pointer, but with 5:16 on the third quarter clock, a 3-ball from sophomore Taylar Hodge gave the Blue Blazes their first field goal in 11:23.

Junior Emily Doring got the three points right back with a long-range bomb, then Shipley scored on a putback.


After Young made a free throw, senior Natalie LaBrie made a 3 for Westbrook and after Morin sank one free throw, LaBrie baked home a 3 and Dunphe drove for a layup to cut the deficit to 17.

A putback in the final minute by Werner sent the Dragons to the fourth quarter on top, 44-25.

And Brunswick ended any lingering doubt by getting a free throw from Werner and a 3-ball from Carlton.

After Hodge got a leaner to roll in, Morin sank a 3.

Freshman Audrey Doolittle then made a jumper and added two foul shots for the Blue Blazes’ final points.

Down the stretch, Shipley made a layup, senior Jordyn Cummings converted an old-fashioned three-point play (putback, foul, free throw) and a layup from senior Sophie Morin brought the curtain down on the Dragons’ 58-31 victory.


“They were very improved from the first game of the season,” Carlton said. “We got sloppy at times, but we focused on what we do well and we hit shots when we needed to.”

“Westbrook’s so improved,” Farrell said. “They play hard and hit shots. We made some errors, but it’s the first game in the tourney.”

Alexis Morin led all scorers with 16 points. Shipley stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four steals. Carlton also wound up in double figures with 12 points.

“We’re at our best when our scoring is spread out,” Farrell said. “We go inside or outside. Kelsie is the leader of the team and you can see that.”

Werner added seven points (eight rebounds and four blocked shots), Cummings and Doring had three points apiece and Harvie and Sophia Morin added two each.

Brunswick made seven 3-pointers, had a 32-26 rebound advantage, overcame 15 turnovers and sank 9-of-18 free throws.


For Westbrook, Young had seven points, LaBrie six, Dunphe and Hodge (eight rebounds) five apiece and Cromarty and Doolittle four each.

The Blue Blazes made 8-of-15 foul shots and turned the ball over 23 times.

Next up

Brunswick beat Falmouth twice this season, 61-36 on the road and 42-37 at home.

The Dragons enjoyed a 74-25 victory in the teams’ lone prior playoff meeting in the 2018 quarterfinals.

Brunswick is far from finished.

“We want to win so badly, especially me as a senior,” said Carlton. “We just need to keep our cool, slow it down and do what we do best and put the ball in the hoop.”

“We’ve been focused since the summer,” Farrell said. “You like to think you get better every week. The girls push each other so hard in practice. It’s all you can control.

“(Falmouth’s) well coached and they play hard. There’s a bit of our rivalry here. We’ll have to play our best game.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net.

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