AUGUSTA — Back-door cuts and give-and-gos. The Valley girls’ basketball team looked sophisticated throughout the Class D South final Saturday afternoon, but really, the Cavaliers were just fundamentally sound and efficient. That turned into domination.

Top-seeded Valley scored the first 10 points, pulling away from No. 2 Waynflete early on the way to a 71-26 win at the Augusta Civic Center. It’s the first regional title since 2009 for Valley (21-0), which will face two-time defending champion Southern Aroostook (20-1) in the Class D state final at 1:05 p.m. next Saturday in Augusta.

Waynflete ends the season at 15-6.

“We practice a lot. We practice all throughout the year, and we practice the same things. It really comes together,” said Valley junior guard Madeline Hill, who was given the Patricia Gallagher Award as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. “Our defense was crazy. I thought we were so good with our defense.”

Valley forced 20 turnovers, 11 in the first quarter when the Cavaliers set the tone. Valley led 10-0 before the Flyers finally scored on a pair of free throws by Lauren McNutt-Girouard (12 points) with 2:03 left in the quarter. The Flyers made 10 turnovers before they had a point, and 13 turnovers before Lucy Hart scored their first field goal with 5:29 remaining in the first half.


The lack of baskets kept Waynflete from setting up its full-court press, and that made an already nervous situation even more so, said Flyers Coach Andrew Leach.

“When the ball’s not going in, you start to worry, you start to get a little nervous out there. We’ve never been in a big game like this before. It just wasn’t our day,” said Leach, whose team won its previous two tourney games by 42 and 26 points. “That doesn’t take away from anything Valley was doing. Their ability to make shots was incredible out there.”

Valley scored the final eight points of the first half to make it 29-7, then opened the second half with a 23-0 run to push the lead to 52-7 with 2:14 left in the third quarter.

“They just absolutely raised their game. Everything we saw on film they did, and did it better,” Leach said.

Valley Coach Gordon Hartwell said his team had done well against pressure defenses all season, and he thought it would be fine again Saturday. Valley got and made open shots by constantly moving. That’s how the back-door layups emerged and the give-and-go opportunities were created. Hartwell said it all stemmed from his admiration of John Wooden and the powerhouse UCLA teams Wooden coached.

“Move the basketball, move yourself and get triangles. It’s not so much set offense as it is court sense,” Hartwell said. “You see someone is overplaying, you go back door. You keep triangles, you get good looks if you keep moving the basketball.”

Liana Hartwell scored 17 points to lead four Cavs in double figures. Kirsten Bigelow scored 16, while Hill added 12. Rylee Clark finished with 11 points and eight rebounds, and Brianna Mills grabbed 10 rebounds.

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