AUGUSTA — For a few minutes in the third quarter, they looked the way their top player felt.

As Edward Little’s Ashlee Arnold ran out of steam in the third, her Red Eddies appeared to wilt as well. Bangor, down by as many as 14 at the half, had erased that deficit. The Red Eddies were reeling, and Arnold was on the bench.

“I was thinking ‘Oh no,’ said freshman guard Kory Norcross. “I didn’t know what to think. We were up by a lot at halftime, and they were coming back.”

Just when Bangor appeared ready to seize control of the game, EL stopped bending and battled back. Sparked by senior Frankie Lally, the Red Eddies turned the tide in the third quarter and watched a slim lead balloon into double digits by quarter’s end. EL never looked back for a 74-56 win over the Rams.

EL advances to Wednesday’s semfinal against Hampden, the team that beat the Red Eddies in the quarterfinals last year.

“There was no reason to get down,” said Lally. “They’re going to have runs, too. They’re a good team. It’s not like we didn’t expect that. We just had to keep our composure. Everybody makes runs, and you’ve got to play through it.”

Lally had a career-high 25 points, including five 3-pointers, two shy of the Eastern A record. She also had 16 points in the second half, 10 of her 13 in the fourth came from the foul line as she went 10-for-10.

“I can’t say enough about what Frankie Lally did,” said EL coach Craig Jipson. “She struggled to shoot in some games this year. A couple weeks ago, she told Coach (Elaine) Derosby ‘I don’t care if I score against this season. I just want to win.’ That’s what it’s about for seniors. They don’t want to hang up their uniforms. She played like a kid that didn’t want to lose. She played like an absolute warrior.”

Arnold, battling the flu, had 17, scoring 12 in the second quarter as EL broke open the lead. Norcross added 16. Bangor got 14 from Kristen Henigan and 13 from Hillary Throckmorton.

Bangor (12-7) was down 38-24 at the half but scored nine straight to open the third. Throckmorton scored off a Denae Jones feed and then converted a three-point play on a fast break to make it 38-33.

EL (16-3) didn’t score until two Norcross free throws with 5:00 left. Then Kim Jordan scored on a rebound and Throckmorton hit a 3 to make it 40-38 with 4:10 left.

“We knew we had to step it up,” said Norcross, whose team watched Morse make a similar run and fall short in Monday’s KVAC win. “We knew we could do it. We just had to do what we normally do.”

EL got a free throw from Kelly Philbrook but still hadn’t hit a field goal in the third. A Henigan rebound cut it to 41-40 with 3:28 left.

That’s when EL fought back. The Red Eddies dug deep both determination- and roster-wise. Lally drilled a 3 with 3:13 remaining to bump the lead back to 44-40.

“That was like a punch back, a punch right in the face,” said Lally. “That inflated us a little.”

Bangor got a jumper from Throckmorton, but that would be as close as the Rams would get. EL finished the quarter with a 10-2 run. After Miranda Martin sank a free throw, Norcross drove to the hoop and converted a three-point play. Then Dawna Daigle put back a rebound for a 50-42 lead.

After a Kate Sawyer basket, Bangor ended the run of eight straight with a Henigan rebound. Sawyer then finished the quarter with a jumper for a 54-44 lead.

“I give some kids credit,” said Jipson. “We were able to sit (Arnold) for a long time in the third quarter. Other kids really did a great job.”

Lally started the fourth with a 3. Then after a Bangor basket, Norcross scored back-to-back. Lally then began her parade to the free-throw line where she calmly sank 10-of-10 down the stretch.

“After the third quarter, we got ahead by a little bit more and the pressure started going down,” said Norcross. “I was like: ‘We’ve got this.'”

It was a frenzied start to the game with both teams hitting shots early. EL was able to open a 17-15 lead in the first thanks to four 3’s, two from Lally and one each from Norcross and Arnold.

“Bangor shot great tonight,” said Jipson. “We were a team that wanted to get the score into the 50’s. I never dreamed we’d score 70.”

In the second quarter, Arnold took over. She scored four straight as part of a 7-2 run. She had 13 of her team’s first 15 points in the quarter, including a pair of 3’s. Back-to-back baskets by Norcross made it 36-23 late in the quarter and two free throws by Arnold ended the half at 38-24.

“You’ve got to do it when it counts,” said Lally of EL’s offensive output in the first half. “Regular season doesn’t mean anything. You’ve got to leave it all on the floor.”

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