AUGUSTA — There are tough starts, and then there’s the one the Forest Hills girls’ basketball team had in the opening quarter of its Class D South semifinal Thursday morning against Waynflete.

Zero field goals. Fifteen turnovers.

“We came out a little flat,” said Forest Hills Coach Alexandra Lessard, whose third-seeded Tigers dropped a 52-26 decision to No. 2 Waynflete. “We had a bad first quarter against a really good team. We haven’t faced a lot of pressure, strong pressure, this year. We were a little under-prepared for their pressure. It was tough.”

The Flyers (15-5), who went 6-12 in Class C last year, will play top-seeded Valley in the regional final at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Junior guard Lauren McNutt-Girouard scored 17 points to lead the Flyers. Lucy Hart and Maeve Mechtenberg each added 13 points for Waynflete, which has outscored opponents 110-42 in two tournament games.

Addison Chaisson scored 10 points for Forest Hills (14-6).


Waynflete is making a resurgence this season. Between 2001 and 2015, the Flyers played in seven regional finals. They won state titles in 2003 (Class D) and 2013 (Class C).

The Flyers, though, went a combined 14-41 over the last three seasons before taking Class D South by storm this winter.

“It’s finally our time,” said Mechtenberg, a senior. “The past few years, they’ve been difficult for us. This season has been very exciting.”

The Flyers put this one away early.

McNutt-Girouard drained two 3-pointers and Hart scored six quick points as the Flyers raced out to a 19-1 lead through the first eight minutes. The Flyers dominated early, thanks to their quick transition game and swarming defense, which prevented Forest Hills from getting anything going.

“We identify ourselves with our defense,” Waynflete Coach Andrew Leach said.


Added Mechtenberg: “Once we get that first basket, that initial one, it just gets us going. It sets us off. We got a lot of turnovers early. We started quick.”

Forest Hills didn’t make it first field goal until an inside basket by Chaisson two minutes into the second quarter.

The Tigers settled down after that, producing a few inside baskets. While they were only outscored 10-9 in the second quarter, though, the deficit was simply too much to overcome, as the Flyers took a 29-10 lead into halftime.

“We do tend to struggle in the first quarter,” Lessard said. “If you take away that first quarter, it was a relatively tight game the rest of the way.”

The Flyers pushed the lead to 31 midway through the third on a McNutt-Girouard basket before turning to some bench players to finish the game off in the fourth quarter.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am for this group,” Leach said.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.