AUGUSTA—Brunswick’s unforgettable season of triumph ended just short of the ultimate prize.

A Gold Ball.

Friday evening at the Augusta Civic Center, in the Class A girls’ state final, the Dragons, who left no doubt they were without peer in their region, ran into a Lawrence Bulldogs squad that was simply unstoppable.

Brunswick took a quick 5-0 lead, but the Bulldogs, sparked by junior standout Hope Bouchard and freshman Maddie Provost, roared right back with a 12-0 run to go on top for good.

Lawrence led, 15-8, after one period and while Dragons junior Maddy Werner did her best to keep her team close, the Bulldogs extended their advantage to 29-16 at halftime.

Brunswick then made things very interesting in the third quarter, getting as close as four points before Lawrence pushed its lead back to 41-33 heading to the fourth.


There, the Dragons never got closer than seven and the Bulldogs pulled away to prevail, 58-43.

Bouchard dazzled with 25 points, Provost added 16 and Lawrence won its sixth state title, finished 19-3 and in the process, ended Brunswick’s memorable campaign at 19-3.

“(Lawrence) earned it,” said Dragons coach Sam Farrell. “They’re a great team. We just got them on a hot night.”

History denied

Brunswick’s girls have produced arguably the finest season in program history (see sidebar for links to previous stories), even before reaching the state final. The Dragons went 16-2 in the regular season, with a 31-point average margin of victory. Brunswick’s only close victory was a five-point win over Falmouth. The Dragons lost only by a point at Gray-New Gloucester and by four to visiting Oxford Hills, a Class AA state finalist.

As the top seed in Class A South, Brunswick rolled through the field, winning its three games by an average of nearly 24 points.


While the Dragons were expected all along to be one of the last two teams standing, Lawrence was not.

The Bulldogs lost two close games to preseason favorite Gardiner and once to Class AA North contender Bangor and won their other 15 contests.

As the second seed in Class A North, Lawrence eliminated No. 7 Erskine Academy (52-20) in the quarterfinals, easily dispatched third-ranked Cony (68-37) in the semifinals, then shocked previously undefeated, top-ranked Gardiner (61-54) in the regional final.

Brunswick and Lawrence didn’t meet this season.

While the Dragons lost their lone state final appearance (see sidebar), the Bulldogs had won five of six, including four in a row during the Cindy Blodgett-era.

Friday, in front of a near-capacity crowd, Brunswick simply couldn’t hit enough shots to bring home the big prize.


The Dragons couldn’t have asked for a better start, as first junior Dakota Shipley knocked down a 3-pointer, then Werner drove and kissed home a shot off the glass, but after sophomore Lexi Morin’s 3-point bid rolled around and out, the Bulldogs roared back with 12 straight points.

Bouchard got the run started with a 3-pointer and after a foul shot from senior Brianna Poulin, Bouchard’s putback put Lawrence ahead to stay.

Senior Alicen Higgins then hit a 3 and Bouchard set up freshman Provost for another 3-ball and the Bulldogs were up, 12-5.

Out of a timeout, Brunswick got a much-needed 3 from Morin, but with under a minute to go, Bouchard drained a 3 from the corner and after eight minutes, the Bulldogs had a 15-8 advantage, thanks in large part to Bouchard’s eight points.

Lawrence then extended its lead in the second period.

Werner kept the Dragons close by scoring twice in close, but Bouchard got an offensive rebound and put it back, Provost scored on a fadeaway baseline jumper, then Bouchard converted an old-fashioned three-point play (a stop-and-go layup, foul and free throw) to make it a 10-point game, 22-12.


After senior Sophia Morin countered with a driving layup, Provost scored on a putback.

Werner then showed off a nice move and beat a defender for a layup, but Lawrence closed the half with a layup from Poulin, a free throw from Provost, then two more foul shots from Provost after an offensive rebound and at the break, the Bulldogs were ahead, 29-16.

Bouchard (13 points, four rebounds, two steals) and Provost (10 points, five rebounds, two assists) led the way for Lawrence, while Werner tried to keep the Dragons close with eight points.

The Bulldogs then fended off a Brunswick comeback in the third quarter.

Sophia Morin opened the second half with two free throws, but Bouchard stole the ball and drove for a layup.

Werner then made a layup and senior Kelsie Carlton drove for a layup, but Lexi Morin’s 3-point bid went in-and-out, then Shipley missed from long range as well.


Provost then pulled up and made a jumper and Bouchard set up Poulin for a layup to restore the 13-point advantage, 35-22.

But the Dragons weren’t finished.

First, Lexi Morin set up Shipley for a layup.

Morin then scored seven points in a 39-second span, making a free throw, draining a long 3, then converting a three-point play to cut the deficit to just four, 35-31, with 1:32 left in the frame.

“The girls have fought all year,” Farrell said. “We won’t get outworked.”

But that’s as close as Brunswick would get.


Twenty-seven seconds later, Provost took a 3-point shot from the corner and while it appeared short, it hit the rim and bounced over and in.

Shipley countered with a putback, but at the horn, senior Liz Crommett’s 3-pointer from NBA range made the score 41-33 Lawrence heading for the final stanza.

“It was definitely nerve-wracking,” Bouchard said. “(Brunswick) went on a good run there. That was definitely something I was keeping on my mind when we were on offense, defense, whatever we were doing. I think our hard work and dedication really paid off.”

Down the stretch, the Bulldogs continued to fight back every Dragons’ challenge and brought the curtain down on their championship.

Higgins started the fourth period with a free throw and after Carlton went coast-to-coast for a layup, senior Alisabeth Dumont kept possession for Lawrence with an offensive rebound and set up Bouchard for a jumper, then Crommett added a jump shot to push the lead back to 11.

Werner then hit two free throws before scoring on a finger roll while falling to the floor, but once more, the Bulldogs had the answer, as Crommett kept possession with an offensive rebound, got the ball to Provost and Provost set up Bouchard for a critical 3 to make it 49-39 with 4:35 remaining.


After Provost added a free throw, Higgins made two with 3:04 on the clock.

Werner answered with a spinner and after Bouchard made one-of-two foul shots, Shipley scored on a putback to cut the deficit to 53-43 with 1:45 remaining.

But that would be the final points of Brunswick’s season.

After Higgins made one foul shot, Bouchard hit two more with 1:09 to play and 13 seconds later, Bouchard sank two more to slam the door and Lawrence went on to prevail, 58-43.

“It feels amazing, after winning a state championship for field hockey, coming here and playing a great season with people that I love,” said Bouchard, who as the Miss Maine field hockey winner guided Lawrence to the Class B title in the fall. “It’s really amazing and it feels like a cherry on top for us seniors.”

“This is crazy, just a totally different level of happiness,” said Crommett. “We’ve experienced winning before, but this is so incredible. It’s a feeling you can’t even describe. It’s truly unbelievable. To think that we brought a Gold Ball to our school and look up and see that did what Nia Irving did and Cindy Blodgett did, it’s the best feeling ever.”


“This year didn’t quite start the way we wanted it to,” Bulldogs coach Greg Chesley added. “I don’t know if we had a little bit of a field hockey hangover or what it was, but we’ve known all year that, given the opportunity, we could play with anybody. I think we proved that.”

Bouchard dazzled with 25 points, as well as seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.

“People ask me how to describe Hope and I don’t even know yet how to describe her,” Chesley said. “Hope does what she needs to do to get it done.”

Provost added 16 points off the bench and also had seven rebounds and three assists.

“Confidence is really key, especially here, where it just gets so crazy,” Provost said. “I think our whole team, not just me, we had a lot of confidence tonight. I’m so grateful for the opportunity I get to play with these teammates and my coaches and I wanted to make the most of it.”

Higgins had seven points (and four rebounds), Crommett finished with five critical points (as well as five rebounds) and Poulin contributed five points, 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.


The Bulldogs hit seven 3-pointers to the Dragons’ three, dominated the glass to the tune of 45 rebounds to 30, overcame a dozen turnovers and hit 15-of-22 free throws.

Too may misses

For Brunswick, Werner set the tone with 16 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two assists.

Lexi Morin also finished in double figures with 10 points, Shipley had nine (to go with a game-high 14 rebounds), Carlton bowed out with four and Sophia Morin also had four points in her final game.

The Dragons made just 17-of-48 shots from the floor, hit 6-of-11 free throws and turned the ball over 13 times.

“They shot the lights out and they killed us on the glass,” Farrell said. “I’d like to say they were just scoring when they were open, but it seemed like they scored when they weren’t open too. We missed (easy shots) early and it could have been a two-, three-point game at halftime. You have to make those kind of plays to win a state championship.”

Ultimately, Brunswick will look back with pride on a fabulous season and with just Carlton and Sophia Morin departing from the regular rotation, look for the 2023-24 Dragons to make another deep tournament run.

“Every day this year was a great day of practice,” Farrell said. “The girls are upset in the locker room more because it’s over. The loss hurts, but they just love being together. I felt like we improved all season and when you have kids playing through injuries and sickness, I couldn’t be more proud. You can’t come any closer than we did. A few of the kids already said on the bench that they’re motivated by seeing the other team swinging the nets. It’s hard as heck to get here. People don’t realize how hard it is to get here, but the kids realize what it takes.”

Press Herald staff writer Drew Bonifant and Morning Sentinel staff writer Mike Mandell contributed to this story.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at

Comments are not available on this story.