RICHMOND — Izzy Stewart sat on the bench stewing.

Having been parked there for most of the first half by early foul trouble, the Richmond junior’s rested legs powered the fifth-seeded Bobcats to a come-from-behind 54-41 win over No. 12 Mt. Abram in a Class C South preliminary-round game Tuesday night. Stewart scored 12 of her 14 points after halftime.

“I put myself in that position,” said Stewart, who added 10 rebounds to finish as one of two Bobcats with double-doubles. “I wasn’t helping my team in the second quarter, so I really had to bring it in the third and fourth. I had three fouls, so I had to play smart, but it definitely fueled me on the bench.”

Richmond (15-3) will face either No. 4 Hall-Dale, a 71-39 winner over No. 13 Dirigo in the regional quarterfinals next week at the Augusta Civic Center. Mt. Abram’s season finishes with an 8-11 mark.

“I’m not going to lie, of course I was nervous,” Richmond coach Mike Ladner said. “I was really nervous. But I also knew in the back of my mind, we’re a second-half team. We’ve been down numerous times this year — double-digits, actually — and we’ve come back and won. I’m very proud of the girls.”

Ladner had cause for worry.


Richmond’s Jayden Brillant tries to maneuver around Mt. Abram defender Josey Arms and Bailea Haines during a Class C South prelim game Tuesday night in Richmond. Eric Maxim/The Times Record

Stewart picked up her third foul with the game barely five minutes old, and Mt. Abram took advantage of the shorthanded Bobcats to grab a 27-24 halftime lead. Jenna Osgood’s 3-pointer at the buzzer sent the Roadrunners sprinting into the break.

That Richmond managed to keep it tight through two quarters was testament to its supporting cast. Senior Kara Briand netted nine of her team-high 15 points in the first half and pulled down a pile of her game-high 18 rebounds through 16 minutes to account for the loss of Stewart.

“I was trying to pick up the pace a little more with scoring, because (Stewart) normally takes on that role,” Briand said. “I felt a little bit more pressure.”

In the second half, Stewart took over.

She scored the first six points for Richmond in the third quarter, all of them from inside the paint, and finished with eight of the team’s 12 points in the period. Stewart didn’t collect a foul after the intermission.

“We knew what we needed to do,” Briand said of the halftime message. “We were all talking in the locker room before (Ladner) came in. We were saying we needed better defense, we all needed to be boxing out, we were forcing shots and taking shots we shouldn’t have been. We all knew that.


“He came in and gave us his look, and we all agreed. We knew what we were doing wrong.”

Mt. Abram threatened to pull the upset when Sakari Savage’s rebound-and-putback handed the visitors a 37-30 lead with 3:08 to play in the third, but the Roadrunners managed just four points the rest of the way.

Mt. Abram, which shot just 2 for 12 from the free throw line in the second quarter, never took advantage of Stewart’s foul trouble — and the Roadrunners couldn’t keep up when they found foul trouble themselves in the second half.

Both Josey Arms and Kharlie Turner (10 points, seven rebounds) fouled out in the fourth quarter.

“We figured we have four bigs, so at some point we’re going to have a mismatch,” Ladner said. “By the end of the game, I feel like we wore them down some. They got in foul trouble, and it worked out.”

After losing in this same game on the very same floor last winter to Madison, Stewart looks forward to her first Civic Center appearance.

“We had a chance last year,” Stewart said.

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