BANGOR, Maine — Redemption. That is how Washburn girls basketball coach described Thursday’s Eastern Class D semifinal against Van Buren.
After all, it was Van Buren who knocked the Washburn girls out of the soccer postseason with a 2-1 loss in the semifinals last fall.
“This was a revenge victory for Washburn,” Beaver coach Mike Carlos said. “That’s what this game was all about. It’s what the girls wanted, and they got it. That was a great victory. I can’t believe how hard they worked.”
No. 1 Washburn (19-1 overall) played smothering defense to force numerous turnovers to beat No. 4 Van Buren 52-46. The Crusaders finish with a 17-4 record.
Washburn was led by Carsyn Koch with 17 points, while MacKenzie Worcester and Nicole Olson had 10 each. For Van Buren, Parise Rossignol netted 18 points in the loss, while Ashlie Wilson and Felisha Bouchard added 12 apiece. Courtney Parent (four points) was the only other Crusader to score.
Coming into the game, coach Carlos said it wasn’t about stopping Van Buren’s Rossignol. Instead, the plan of attack was to make the other four girls on the court for Van Buren make their shots. Koch played Rossignol tightly on defense for much of the night, forcing many off-balanced, and off the mark shots from arguably the best individual girls player in Eastern Class D.
“We spent all of our practice time working on that defense,” Carlos said. “We realized she (Rossignol) was going to do whatever she wanted to do. We wanted to prevent the others from doing the rest.”
Both teams came out firing to start the game, with Washburn clinging to an 18-17 edge at the end of the first quarter. In the second period, the Beavers opened up a 34-24 lead heading into the break thanks to strong play from Koch (six points) and Carmen Bragg (four points).
Van Buren managed to trim the Beavers lead to four on a couple of occasions in the third quarter and even got within three points (47-44) with 2:05 to play. The Beavers continued to show poise under pressure down the stretch to preserve the victory, and a date in the finals.
Playing with the lead to start the fourth quarter, Washburn found itself in the rare position of trying to work time off the clock without taking a shot.
VAN BUREN (46)
Bourgoin, Wilson 5 2-4 12, Rossignol 9 0-0 18, C. Parent 2 0-0 4, Bouchard 6 0-0 12, Durette. Totals: 22 2-4 46.
Saucier 2 0-0 4, Overman, Koch 7 3-6 17, Bragg 2 2-3 6, Worcester 4 2-4 10, Doody 2 1-2 5, Olson 3 1-2 10. Totals: 20 9-17 52. 3-pointers — Olson 3.
Crusaders 17-7-14-8 — 46
Beavers 18-16-12-6 — 52