PORTLAND—The Dragons roared Saturday afternoon.

Did they ever.

And the end result was an emphatic championship game performance and the program’s first Gold Ball.

Facing Cony in the Class A girls’ basketball state final at the Cross Insurance Arena, Brunswick endured a couple rough minutes early, then displayed what makes it so transcendent.

As the Dragons, passed, shot and defended their way to the pinnacle.

Cony senior Morgan Cunningham helped her team to an 8-0 lead two minutes in, but Brunswick came to life with a vengeance, rattling off 13 straight points to go in front to stay.


The Dragons were up by just two points after eight minutes, 13-11, but dominated the second period, closing the first half on a 13-0 run for a 30-13 advantage, as junior sparkplug Lexi Morin set up senior standout Dakota Shipley consistently and Brunswick also got some key contributions from its bench.

In the third quarter, Brunswick ended any lingering doubt by outscoring the Rams, 18-4, to take an insurmountable 48-17 lead to the final stanza.

Where the Dragons made it official, going on to a 54-30 victory.

Shipley had 21 points, Morin added a dozen and Brunswick finished the best season in program history at 20-2, ended Cony’s campaign at 14-8 and best of all, captured the Gold Ball for the first time.

“It feels great to make history and come out with the win,” said Shipley, who had a double-double. “It’s extra-special to win it as a senior. We all knew in the backs of our minds that we wanted to make history, but we just focused on the game.”



Ever since the Dragons walked off the Augusta Civic Center floor last March 3 after losing to Lawrence in the Class A state final, they have had a single purpose.

Getting back to the big stage and winning it all.

“We came back for revenge this season,” Shipley said.

“Last year’s loss definitely led to this year’s win,” said Morin. “We were angry.”

And with a plethora of talent returning, Brunswick was the favorite in Class A South and embarked upon a terrific season (see sidebar for links to previous stories). The Dragons lost only to reigning Class AA champion Oxford Hills and late in the season to Mt. Ararat.

As the No. 2 seed in Class A South, Brunswick then dominated No. 7 Freeport in the quarterfinals, shut down No. 6 Greely in the semifinals, then outlasted top-ranked Mt. Ararat in the regional final to advance to states.


Cony, which has as rich a history a girls’ program as anyone, went just 11-7 during the regular season, but as the No. 3 seed, caught fire in the Class A North tournament, knocking off sixth-ranked Brewer (48-37) in the quarterfinals, upsetting No. 2 Hampden Academy (52-40) in the semifinals, then ending the title reign of No. 1 Lawrence in the regional final, 54-46.

Brunswick and Cony didn’t play this season.

“We brought in some alumni to help us prepare because Cony runs a similar offense to what we used to run,” said longtime Dragons coach Sam Farrell. “Really, it was just about focus.”

The Rams had a lengthy state game history (see sidebar), having appeared 12 previous times between 1987 and 2012, while the Dragons were 0-2 in their appearances (also losing to Messalonskee in 2017).

Saturday, Cony sought its eighth Gold Ball, but it would be Brunswick, after some anxious early minutes, taking care of business.

With authority.


The Rams couldn’t have asked for a better start, as Cunningham came out sizzling.

First, she took a pass from senior Maci Freeman and drained a 3-pointer to open the scoring 24 seconds in.

The tandem then connected again with 6:30 to go in the first quarter, as Cunningham doubled the lead with a 3, then, 19 seconds later, Cunningham took a pass from junior Abby Morrill and made a layup for a quick 8-0 advantage.

But the Dragons weren’t fazed in the least and answered with 13 consecutive points of their own.

After four straight possessions ended with a turnover, Brunswick got on the board with 5:58 on the clock, as Shipley made a layup.

After being fouled on an offensive rebound, Shipley added two free throws. Shipley then set up senior Emily Doring for a 3 from the corner and with 3:29 remaining, Morin drove and banked in a shot to put the Dragons in front to stay.


“I didn’t stress too much about (being behind),” said Morin. “We just played our game. We might have had some early nerves, but we settled in and got our energy going.”

“We knew we could come back,” Shipley said. “We moved the ball and talked and ran our plays.”

“They got three looks and they went in, but I knew the girls would adjust,” Farrell added. “My assistant coaches were hollering at me for a timeout, but I trust the players.”

Brunswick wasn’t finished, as Morin inbounded the ball to Shipley, who made a short bank shot, then with 1:38 to go, after a Shipley block on the defensive end, senior Maddy Werner raced in for a layup and a 13-8 advantage.

Finally, with 26.1 seconds remaining, junior Morgan Fichthorn hit a 3 for Cony to end the 13-0 run and a 5 minute, 45 second drought, cutting the Dragons’ lead to two heading for the second quarter.

There, Brunswick continued to pour it on and opened up a double-digit lead.


Thirty-five seconds in, senior Abrielle St. Pierre, who gave the Dragons some huge minutes with Werner on the bench in foul trouble, hit a short jumper.

Morin then inbounded the ball to Shipley for a layup.

“We ran an inbounds play we hadn’t run all year and we must have run it for 10 points today,” Farrell said.

With 6:12 on the clock, Fichthorn made a jumper for the Rams, but they wouldn’t score again in the half, while Brunswick closed on a 13-0 run.

The surge began with yet another Morin pass to Shipley for a layup. Junior Kyra Fortier then buried a 3 and Morin got a rebound and threw a touchdown pass to Shipley for another layup, making it 24-13 and forcing Cony coach John Dennett to call timeout.

It didn’t help, as Morin drove for one of her patented up-and-under layups, junior Eva Harvie set up Shipley for a layup, then as time wound down, St. Pierre handed the ball off to a driving Fortier, whose layup produced a commanding 30-13 advantage at the half.


“We just came out and scored,” Shipley said. “We saw the mismatches. The game plan was to get the ball inside and we knew we had a mismatch the whole game. Maddy got in foul trouble early, so it revolved around me in the first half and it all worked out. I was ready.”

Shipley led the way in the first half with 14 points, while Cunningham had eight for the Rams.

Any Cony comeback hopes were quickly dashed in the third quarter, as Harvie set up Doring for a corner 3, then Harvie passed to Morin for a layup.

With 6:06 left in the frame, Cunningham got a runner in the lane to rattle in, ending an 8:06 drought, but Shipley countered with a 3, Morin inbounded to Shipley for yet another easy layup, then Shipley returned the favor, setting up Morin for a short jumper before a Werner putback made it 44-15.

Junior Cassie Lacroix momentarily stemmed the tide with a jumper, but Doring set up a cutting Morin for a contested layup, then as time wound down, Brunswick demonstrated again why its interior passing has no peer, as Werner found Shipley for a layup to make it 48-17 with eight minutes to go.

The fourth quarter was one long Dragons’ coronation.


Cunningham opened the final stanza with a 3, but Harvie set up Werner for a layup.

After Fichthorn made a free throw, Cunningham scored on a runner, but Werner set up Morin for another layup.

Cunningham made two free throws, then with 2:40 to go, Freeman buried a 3 for the Rams, but with 1:24 on the clock, a St. Pierre layup produced Brunswick’s final points.

Morrill scored on a runner with 1:10 left, but neither team scored from there and after both coaches cleared their benches, the Dragons ran out the clock and at 2:23 p.m., rushed the court to celebrate their history-making 54-30 victory.

“That was absolutely amazing,” said Morin. “I feel amazing and our whole team is super-hyped. We’re so happy to bring home the Gold Ball. We made the town really happy. We wanted to start strong and end strong and that’s what we did today. We had a lot of communication. We stayed on our toes, made cuts to the basket and it really worked.”

“The girls’ program is almost as old as I am, so this is special for the girls first, and the whole town too,” Farrell said. “We literally only focus on the next game. You can’t focus on the end when you’re in the middle of it.


“I just love these kids. I’ve had 15 years of the best kids I could have. There’s no place I’d rather be than Brunswick. They make my life better and I try to do the same for them.”

Brunswick was led by Shipley, who bowed out with a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds, to go with four assists and three steals.

Morin was exceptional as well, scoring 12 points, while adding seven rebounds, six assists and two steals.

Doring and Werner (five rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals) had six points apiece, Fortier added five off the bench (to go with three rebounds) and St. Pierre came off the bench and had four points and four rebounds. Harvie didn’t score, but had six assists.

“I think it all started with Eva Harvie,” Farrell said. “She didn’t score a point but a lot of her assists were passes I wouldn’t have thrown, but she threaded it in there and we put them in. It starts with the unsung things. Maddy was in foul trouble and Arielle and Kyra came off the bench and hit big shots. It was such a team game because no one cared who scored.”

The Dragons enjoyed a 36-21 advantage on the glass, made 2-of-5 free throws and overcame 15 turnovers.


For Cony, Cunningham led the way with 17 points and four rebounds. Fichthorn added six points, five rebounds and two steals, Freeman had three points and Lacroix and Morrill added two apiece.

The Rams turned the ball over 19 times and made 3-of-7 foul shots.


The only bittersweet aspect about Saturday’s win was that Brunswick will have to say goodbye to Doring, Shipley, St. Pierre and Werner. Rest assured that their contributions to the program will long be hailed.

“This wasn’t just a team, it was a family and we connected as one,” Morin said. “I’m so happy to play with so many amazing girls.”

“Those four seniors are some of the best kids I’ve ever coached,” Farrell said. “Not just the talent. They just show up to work and they love each other.”

Next year’s team will be led by Morin, with help from Fortier and Harvie, and some new names will step up and keep the Dragons near the top of the heap.

“We just have to keep playing our game and take advantage of our size and our shooting skills and that’s what we’re going to do,” said Morin.

“We bring back a lot of talent and we have some good kids in the middle school coming up,” Farrell said. “We’ll be a little shorter, but I guess that means I’ll have to coach a little bit.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. For game updates and links to game stories, follow him on Threads: @foresports2023

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