AUGUSTA — It’s common for student-athletes to feel some nerves prior to competing in a state championship event, regardless of the sport.

Many players on the Lawrence and Gardiner girls basketball teams, however, have experienced a wealth of big-game moments.

The two teams squared off Friday in the Class A final at the Augusta Civic Center.

Lawrence reached the Class A North title game last season before falling to Jaycie Christopher and eventual Class A champion Skowhegan. Furthermore, five Bulldogs competed on the school’s field hockey team, which won the Class B state championship this fall. Lawrence edged Falmouth 1-0 for the program’s first Class B title.

Senior Hope Bouchard — one of Lawrence’s top basketball scorers (10.7 points per game) — earned Miss Maine Field Hockey award honors this fall.

“We had a great year last year for both field hockey and basketball, and with a lot of returners coming back in both, we knew we could go far in both,” Bouchard said. “We’re not done; we’re not satisfied with just winning states for field hockey we want to do it in basketball, too.”


Lawrence head coach Greg Chesley said the team’s experience in championship games is an added bonus.

“I think it’s immeasurable, you can’t really put it into words,” Chesley said. “Having been there and staring down the kind of win-or-be-done experience is something that’s helped us a lot. Those field hockey girls went to a Northern Maine regional last year, and then did it in basketball. This year, they win states in field hockey, win regionals last week in basketball. It’s helped us incredibly.”

Likewise, Brunswick is no stranger to big-game moments, either. Like Lawrence, the Dragons reached the regional final on the hardwood last year, falling to Greely in the Class A South title game. But Brunswick has also had success on the pitch. The Dragons won the Class A North girls soccer title for the second consecutive year this fall, before losing 1-0 to Scarborough in the Class A final. The Dragons fell 3-1 to Windham in the 2021 state title game.

Lexi Morin, smiling in the back, and her Brunswick High teammates celebrate after they defeated Gray-New Gloucester in the Class A South championship game Feb. 24. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

“I feel the pressure (of a big game), but I like it,” said Brunswick sophomore Alexis Morin, who led the girls soccer team with 25 goals and 10 assists last season “It gives me a little rush and I just get excited for it and I play my heart out every single time.”

“I’ve been to two state championship games in soccer, had the big (regional final) game last year in basketball, now we’re here at states again. I think (that experience) helps a lot more,” added senior Sophia Morin, a captain for both the soccer and basketball teams. “I remember going to states being really nervous, really anxious. Now I’m like, ‘We’re at states. I’m not letting another state (game) slip through our fingers. This one is ours.'”

Brunswick head coach Sam Farrell said the team’s winning culture in multiple sports rubs off on teammates.

“We have winners on the team,” Farrell said. “That helps. You’ve got someone like Lexi, who’s only a sophomore, but she doesn’t know anything but success. She’s been in two regional finals for basketball and now two state finals for soccer. The kids buy into and I don’t think they get nervous because they do it together. It’s been like that in every sport they play.

“I think winning is a skill,” he continued. “It’s a hard thing to teach, but you know it when you see it. Lawrence is the same way, they were in the regional final last year and are now in (states), just like us. Winning begets winning.”

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