Siana Jacobs, left, of Buckfield pressures Emily McCarthy of Hebron Academy in Hebron on Monday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

HEBRON — Hebron Academy dominated the boards all game long to offset some poor shooting to hang on and defeat Buckfield in a Class C South girls’ basketball showdown.

At the top of the rebounding leaderboard was Hebron’s Allyson Walsh, who grabbed 15 rebounds, eight of which came on the offensive end. Those kind of second-chance opportunities will give any team a huge morale boost and the Lumberjacks (7-1) were no different Monday evening.

“I was attacking the boards and going after rebounds offensively and defensively,” Walsh said. “I kept my head and kept going after it. I wanted the ball today, so I did what I could and kept driving to the hoop.”

Walsh had seven rebounds in the first half and eight in the second. Every single rebound was needed as Buckfield (4-4) jumped out to a 8-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, things started to change in Hebron’s favor. Its top scorer, Franceska Halloran, earned a three-point play the old-fashioned way early in the quarter, followed by a 3-pointer from the top of the arch to finish the half with six points.

Buckfield stayed close thanks to seven points from Karen McNeil and trailed by just five at halftime.

The Bucks started to face-guard Halloran to disrupt her flow offensively and, in turn, Hebron’s. Molly Bourget played close to the Hebron scorer all game with Katy Henderson helping when Bourget was out. Their defense was successful as Halloran only scored six more in the second half.

“We were trying to take (Halloran) out of the game because we have had success with that in the past,” Buckfield coach Ryan Wilkins said. “They also have (Walsh and Reily New). We wanted them covered up and then we were going to roll the dice with the other two kids and hope they didn’t hit a bunch of shots, and I think for the most part we did a decent job of that.”

Hebron only had a six-player rotation on Monday, so head coach Colin Griggs, who coached his 300th game as a varsity coach at Hebron in all sports on Monday, was relying on others to step up.

New hit two jumpers in the third quarter to help the Lumberjacks to a 28-25 lead heading into the fourth. New’s scores were needed as Henderson scored six points in the third quarter to keep Buckfield afloat.

Walsh earned her fourth foul with about five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, one away from being ejected from the game. That didn’t change her approach to the game much at all.

“I was hands straight up, moving my feet and it’s something I have to work on personally,” Walsh said.

With just over four minutes remaining in the game, Walsh stole the ball from McNeil under the basket after a score from Hebron and immediately laid the ball in to go up 30-27. That kind of aggression was huge for Griggs’ players.

“One of the weirdest but most important plays was when Allyson had that steal under the basket and the putback, all with four fouls,” Griggs said. “It was ill-advised, but it worked out in our favor and it was probably one of the most important plays of the game.”

Hannah Shields hit four free throws in the fourth quarter to finish with 15 points for Buckfield, but in the end the Bucks were defeated by their lack of rebounding success. With Walsh’s 15, New’s 10 and Katherine Ducharme’s seven, the Lumberjacks were too much for Buckfield to handle.

“I think what killed us — and was our Achilles heel Saturday night — was we didn’t rebound the basketball,” Wilkins said. “We tended to watch the ball and didn’t get it. Often times we forget to jump to get the rebound. Sometimes you get position, but if you are playing kids that are taller than you then they’re going to get the ball.”

In the closing minutes, Ducharme’s and New’s free throws were what saved Hebron.

“Ducharme was good again on all phases,” Griggs said. “Defending and rebounding on both sides of the court. One game she will have 15 points and another not as much, but it’s good to have that.”

Bourget drew a charge with 51 seconds remaining in the game, trailing 36-33. Buckfield didn’t score and New grabbed the rebound and hit two more free throws with 25 seconds left to seal it.

Allyson Walsh (33) of Hebron Academy completes a pass to her teammate Reily New while Alyssa Litchfield and Hannah Shields (13) of Buckfield defend on the play during the first half in Hebron on Monday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Hannah Shields of Buckfield breaks up court during the first half against Hebron Academy on Monday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Reily New of Hebron Academy passes over Buckfield defender Karen McNeil during the first half in Hebron on Monday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)


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