AUGUSTA — Short-handed Mt. Abram played as if it knew it would eventually run out of gas during Tuesday’s Western C quarterfinal against Boothbay.
And yet, in spite of a brutal start, or perhaps because of it, the Roadrunners were determined to get more mileage out of their last half tank than they got out of their first.
Smothering full-court defense resulted in an 20-point deficit being trimmed to eight, but running on fumes by the fourth quarter, Mt. Abram was forced to coast to the finish line while Boothbay was able to hit the turbo boost one last time.
No. 3 Boothbay used a 9-0 run to pull away at the start of the fourth quarter of a 58-42 victory over No. 6 Mt. Abram. The Seahawks (13-6) will face Waynflete in the semifinals. The Roadrunners finish their season 11-9.
Sarah Caron led all scorers with 23 points for Boothbay, while Meghan Smith added 14 points. Tori Beane led Mt. Abram with 14 points and Mikayla Luce added 11 points.
Caron, a guard, benefit ted from Mt. Abram’s lack of size as much as Boothbay’s big people did. The Roadrunners were so preoccupied with Smith and Alexandra Clarke (six points) inside that it set up open shots for the sharp-shooting junior.
“We think she’s going to have a big tournament,” Boothbay coach Dan Wolotsky said. “Today she certainly did. She made a lot of shots. And she did more than make shots today. But as soon as she starts making shots, her whole game starts falling into place.”
Mt. Abram started the game missing its first 10 shots and trailed, 31-11, late in the first half.
“This is the first trip down here for these girls and we just kind of froze that first half,” Mt. Abram coach Doug Lisherness said. “My wife asked me this morning how I thought we were going to do and I said if we can get over the pregame jitters before we get too far down, I think we’ll be alright. It just didn’t happen in that first half.”
Utilizing an aggressive full-court trap, the Roadrunners chipped away at the deficit, pulling to within eight on a Beane 3-pointer late in the third quarter. But already down 5-foot-10 center Annie Dexter, they lost another front-court stalwart when Jill Howard fouled out with 4:55 left in the third.
Smith scored to make it a 10-point game again. But Boothbay’s frustration over letting Mt. Abram back into the game seemed to reach a boiling point when Smith drew her fifth foul, then was whistled for a technical after slapping both hands on the floor and saying something to show her disgust with the call.
Beane made one of the two free throws from the technical and Boothbay’s lead was nine, 43-34, heading into the fourth quarter.
“That was more like the ball we’ve been playing and been capable of playing, but we were down and out at that point,” Lisherness said. “You’re not going to come back against a real good team like Boothbay, being that far down.”
The Seahawks didn’t want to abandon their inside game with Smith on the bench, so they started the fourth quarter by going to 6-foot center Clarke, who kicked off the momentum-turning 9-0 run inside.
The absence of Dexter (family reasons) continued to be felt as Caron scored on a putback to make it 47-34. Abby McLellan added a steal and layup and Clarke capped off the run with a three-point play that made it 52-34 with 4:55 left.
“When Meghan went out, the other kids responded,” Wolotsky said. “Abby McLellan, who’s our shortest kid, had huge minutes for us. She was fierce defensively. When they were coming back and Beane was making shots, we put little Abby on her and she took care of her.”