Charlotte MacMillan of Brunswick (2) drives past Messalonskee’s Gabrielle Wener (14) during Saturday’s Class A girls’ state championship game at the Augusta Civic Center.

AUGUSTA — When Brunswick made a shot, Messalonskee not only answered, but made two or even three baskets in a row. When the Dragons hit a 3-pointer, the Eagles responded immediately.

That pattern continued throughout Saturday’s Class A girls’ basketball state final, leading to a 58-33 win for Messalonskee at the Augusta Civic Center.

The Eagles (22-0) captured their first Class A state title, while the Dragons missed in their first opportunity at the Gold Ball, finishing the season at 18-4.

The start of the game seemed to rattle Brunswick, which fell behind by eight in the game’s first four minutes. Messalonskee standout Sophie Holmes was guarded one-on-one by Dragons guard Charlotte MacMillan, who denied the Eagles senior the ball. Still, 3-pointers by Makayla Wilson, Ally Turner and Gabi Wener had the Class A North region champions out to a 10-2 start. Brunswick missed seven of its first eight shots.

“We couldn’t put the ball back, we couldn’t finish and that was the difference,” MacMillan said.

“Our defense, we didn’t come out as strong as we normally do,” said Armstrong, who paced Brunswick with 13 points and showed the wounds of the physical battle with an injured hand. “We came out and played a little bit sloppy, and that carried us throughout the day.”

“We looked at that all year, as teams have doubled (Sophie) and shadowed her a lot, so we focused on getting other kids involved so if that happened, they were ready to step up,” Messalonskee coach Keith Derosby said. “Ally, Gabrielle, McKenna (Brodeur), Lydia (Dexter), KK, they were ready. Alyssa Genness comes off the bench and scores seven. They were ready for those moments, knowing if they had that opportunity that they could set that tone.”

Messalonskee kept its strong start going, with Holmes finally getting free and scoring seven straight points for a 17-2 contest. Armstrong picked up two quick fouls, and Brunswick coach Sam Farrell used a pair of timeouts to try and slow the Eagles’ momentum.

Brunswick run

After the second Dragons timeout, Armstrong scored and MacMillan swished a trey to get Brunswick to 17-7 after a quarter. Madeline Suhr kept the run going, scoring inside to move the Dragons to 17-9 early in the second.

Moments later, Armstrong picked up her third foul, and Brunswick struggled to score, missing six straight shots, including three layups.

“They were up, we went on a run, then we missed three bunnies,” Brunswick coach Sam Farrell said. “If we hit those, it is a four-point game. You have to make plays.”

Messalonskee found another gear, using a 10-0 run in building a 27-9 advantage.

“They made shots and we didn’t,” Farrell said. “Somedays (shots) just don’t go in. It was a bad day to have a bad shooting day.”

“This is a (Brunswick) team that makes runs, a team that is capable of running off 14, 15 points in a row, so we wanted to minimize the runs, bend but don’t break, and if we could match it basket for basket, we would be good,” Derosby said.

Holmes and Turner both scored four points in the second quarter as Messalonskee carried a 29-13 lead to the intermission. Holmes led all scorers with 11 first-half points.

“We are such a versatile team,” Holmes said. “We have Gabrielle, who can be good for 10. Ally can be good for 10. Just so many people on our team are scorers. You can try to shut down one of us, but we still have four other people to worry about. When the first shot goes in, you know it is going to be a good day. With this team, you don’t feel pressure.”

Farrell didn’t sit Armstrong, even after she picked up her fourth foul three minutes into the second half.

“There is nothing to wait for. You just trust her. She didn’t foul out,” Farrell said.

Messalonskee continued to answer all Brunswick pushes. Armstrong drained a 3-pointer, but Holmes immediately answered, and Brodeur went inside to up the Eagles’ lead to 38-18. Holmes again scored, and Genness swished a trey from the corner, finishing off another 10-0 run.

“When they were trying to get momentum, we knew how important it was to get the momentum back,” Derosby said. “Against Greely, they took that game away from them. We had to focus, stay with them and take the momentum. The game never got away from them or ahead of them. We preached one quarter at a time, and when you have that short term goal, two or three points is not the end of the world.”

“Suhr is a great shooter. Sabrina is a great shooter. We knew if we could slow them that we would have a chance,” Holmes said. “Senior year, last game coming out 22-0 and state champs, this feels great. Dreams came true today.”

Armstrong hit three second-half treys, while Suhr chipped in 10 points and two blocked shots. Senior Brooke Barter had a game-high 11 rebounds as Brunswick held a slight 34-32 edge on the boards. Barter also had three steals.

“These girls, it was a really great team and fun to come to practice,” Armstrong said. “It was a good environment for everyone, and getting here was awesome.”

“This was very special this season,” Farrell said. “We talked about those seniors, when they were in elementary and middle school and we were going to Buckfield and Dixfield, more fields than I can remember. They showed up for everything and set a great legacy. Those two freshmen on this team can’t have better role models. There is no reason for them to put their head downs. Messalonskee beat us. They were the better team tonight.”

Holmes led all scorers with 21 points, while Turner chipped in 12 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. Brodeur had nine points, while Wener pulled in seven rebounds.

Messalonskee shot 41.2-percent (21-of-51) from the field and made 10-of-13 from the free-throw line.

On the other side, Brunswick was 13-of-56 from the floor (23.2 percent) and 3-of-11 from the line.

Brunswick’s Madeline Suhr (31) goes up to the hoop over Kaitlin Seekins (10) of Messalonskee.

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