Bangor-- Hannah Clement is a freshman that played beyond her age Friday afternoon at the Bangor Auditorium.
Clement recorded 10 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals to spark the Orono Red Riots girls basketball team to a 40-31 class C semifinal victory over the Dexter Tigers at the Bangor Auditorium Friday afternoon.
"I felt a little pressure. I knew as a team we could pull together and do it,"Clement said. "I am so excited. I didn't think as a freshman I would be able to step into this position."
Dexter held a 12-7 lead after Lauren Crane nailed a three pointer early in the second quarter. The Red Riots went on a 16-0 run to end the quarter and take a comfortable 23-12 lead going into halftime.
"We came out with intensity in the first half,"Clement said. "We played a 3-2 (zone) and usually we do not play zone so they were not expecting it."
The Red Riots did their damage on offense without leading scorer and Miss Maine semifinalist Jillian Woodward. The senior played only 19 minutes because of foul trouble. Woodward finished with two points and did not attempt a field goal.
"We just have to play with confidence. Whoever goes in we need to have confidence that they will do the right thing,"Orono coach Jessica Witham said. "We have kids that have stepped up big time."
Woodward contributed with nine rebounds and two blocks.
"Dexter plays Jillian tough on defense. Jillian can contribute in other ways. She was in foul trouble and she still had nine rebounds and two blocks," Witham said. "If teams key on her we have other players that can score. She knows how to contribute in other ways."
Two sophomores stepped up for Witham and the Riots.
"I knew we could do it. We found a way to win all season in any circumstance,"Woodward said. "I knew if I was not getting offense I could help on defense. Abby Weigang was huge for us. She got some huge rebounds."
Witham added, "Abby Weigang came off the bench and had some huge rebounds for us. Eliza Souza Cunha came in and had some big plays and took care of the ball."
The Riots zone defense flustered the cold shooting Tigers. Dexter shot 8-53 (15.1%) from the field including 5-25 (20.0%) from three point range.
The Red Riots went away from the man to man defense they played their first two meetings against the Tigers. Orono lost 51-42 and 43-39 in the regular season battles with Dexter.
"We struggled man to man against them (Dexter) because they are all guards. We start three forwards and two guards so it is an awkward match-up for us,"Witham said. "We figured we would throw a different look at them on defense and it worked out for us."
Sophomore Katie Sypher scored a team high 11 points (7-9 FT) to lead the Red Riots. Elea Kass recorded seven points and seven rebounds. Weigang pulled down five rebounds and had one steal.
Orono (17-3) will take on Calais in the Eastern Maine final game at the Bangor Auditorium Saturday at 7 p.m.
"Last year we had an early exit so it is good to make it back to Eastern Maine,"Woodward said. "It is exciting to play one more day. We won't stop until we get the gold ball."
Lauren Crane led the Tigers with 13 points, seven rebounds, two steals and one block. Michaela White chipped in with 10 points, eight rebounds and four steals. Dexter finishes the season with a record of 19-1.