AUGUSTA — Seacoast Christian would be well-advised to follow Buckfield’s blueprint for defending Richmond 6-foot center Jamie Plummer when the two teams meet in Thursday’s semifinals.
Of course, without an offensive game to complement that defense, Seacoast could lock Plummer in the locker room Thursday and it wouldn’t matter, as Buckfield knows all too well.
Top-seeded Richmond zipped out to an 18-0 lead and overcame a sub-par game from Plummer with timely offensive balance for a 56-39 win over No. 9 Buckfield in the Western C quarterfinals at the Augusta Civic Center on Tuesday.
Richmond will indeed meet No. 4 Seacoast Christian in Thursday’s semifinal.
Buckfield employed a box-and-one on Plummer and got the results it wanted there, holding her to nine points.
Unfortunately, Plummer’s three points in the first half was still more than the Bucks had for the first 11 minutes of the game.
“Defensively, our plan worked,” Buckfield coach Annette Caldwell said. “Offensively, we were running a stall, but we rushed our shots early on and we couldn’t put the ball in the hoop.”
Buckfield’s offense stalled out of the chute. The Bucks (5-15) didn’t score until Danielle Patrie made two free throws 30 seconds into the second quarter and didn’t get a field goal until Patrie’s with 5:03 left in the half that made it 20-4.
“This is the first time the majority of these girls have been here, and they have the nerves that come with the first time being on the Civic Center floor,” Caldwell said.
Richmond (17-1) thrived offensively thanks to its outside shooters finding the range early.
Danica Hurley drilled a 3-pointer 10 seconds into the game. Brianna Snedeker added a 3 and Haley Murphy a long jumper just inside the arc to open up the 18-0 cushion.
“Everybody contributed in this game. You can’t ask for more than that,” Richmond coach Molly Bishop said. “I don’t think (Plummer) was particularly frustrated. I think she’s pretty accepting of the fact that when they double her, it means that somebody else is going to be open.”
“When our players hit shots from the outside, it’s very important because I never know when I’m going to see a box-and-one on me, a zone, man-to-man, whatever,” Plummer said. “If we can hit the outside shots early, it definitely takes pressure off of me.”
Alyssa Pearson picked up some of the slack in the paint and finished with 11 points to lead a balanced Richmond offense. Hurley had nine and Snedeker eight.
“They’ve improved at (picking up the slack when Plummer is off) throughout the season,” Bishop said. “At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t really sure who we were going to go to. Now I’m still not sure, but I have faith that somebody is going to step in and do it.”
Buckfield actually outscored Richmond in the second quarter but still had a huge hole to climb out of, 23-7 at the half. The Bucks started the second half almost as cold as they did the first and were down, 39-11, at the end of the third.
Patrie led the Bucks with 11 points and Kaitlyn Rines chipped in with eight.