But, once teams walk onto the Augusta Civic Center floor for a postseason contest, funny things often happen.
Except for this time!
Once again, the top-seeded Bobcats made quick work of No. 9 Buckfield, jumping out to an 18- 0 lead in the first quarter in a 51- 22 Western Maine Class D quarterfinal early afternoon win on Tuesday.
Richmond (17-1) moves on to face No. 4 Seacoast Christian (16-3) on Thursday in the Eastern D semifinals at 11:30 a. m. back in Augusta. The fourth- seeded Guardians moved on with a 60-34 quarterfinal victory over fifthseeded Forest Hills. During the season, Richmond picked up a pair of wins over Seacoast, 46-26 and 39-23.
What a start!
Against Buckfield, this one was over quickly. The Bobcats connected on their outside shots, getting a 3- pointer each from guards Danica Hurley (just nine seconds after the opening tip) and Brianna Snedeker. Combined with Noell Acord’s four points from outside, the guard trio combined for 12 first-quarter points.
“We came out the way we wanted to,” said Richmond coach Molly Bishop. “Everyone contributed, and you can’t ask for more than that. The kids have been working hard on how important it is to make those outside open shots. They’ve improved throughout the season.”
“It’s really important because it gets our momentum going,” said Snedeker, who scored eight points, including a pair of treys in helping take some of the pressure off center Jamie Plummer, who was often triple- teamed down low by Buckfield. “They were playing a box- and- one, and it took the pressure off of her when we were able to hit those outside shots.”
Plummer managed to score nine points, pull down nine rebounds and pick up six steals, while forward Alyssa Pearson had a teamhigh 11 points. The Bobcats held a 32-27 rebounding edge and forced 36 Buckfield turnovers.
“Defensively our plan worked, but offensively we just didn’t put the ball in the hoop,” said Buckfield (5-15) coach Annette Caldwell, whose team shot 22 percent (eight of 35) from the floor. “ Our goal was to control Plummer, and on the whole we did that. Richmond is a well-coached team with tons of talent, and we knew just stopping Plummer wasn’t going to solve our problems.”
Richmond struggled in the second quarter, scoring just five points. Buckfield got on the scoreboard when Abby Bragg connected on a pair of free throws, and a putback by Danielle Patrie with 4:22 left until halftime was the Bucks’ first field goal.
The Bobcats led 23-7 at the break.
The third quarter was reminiscent of the first for Richmond, which outscored Buckfield 16- 4 behind five points from Snedeker, while Pearson added six fourthquarter points as Richmond put the finishing touches on its 51-22 victory.
“We came out with so much momentum in the first quarter and it calmed down, but we came back out strong in the third quarter and wanted to prove that we were better,” said Snedeker. “You never know what is going to happen at the civic center, and you have to earn every game from here on out.”
Buckfield, which averaged just 14.5 points a game against Richmond during the season, finished strong with 11 fourth- quarter points as Patrie nailed a pair of 3-pointers to end up with a game-high 14 points. Rines chipped in five points and seven rebounds, while Caitlin Henderson pulled down six caroms.
Richmond shot 27 percent (19 of 68) from the field and made 10 of 17 free throws. Hurley finished with nine points and four steals, Acord dished out four assists and Haley Murphy came off the bench to pick up four steals.
No. 1 Richmond 51, No. 9 Buckfield 22
Western Maine Class D Girls Quarterfinals
At the Augusta Civic Center
Buckfield — 0 7 4 11 — 22
Richmond — 18 5 16 12 — 51
Buckfield — Dakota Warren 0-0-0, Danielle Patrie 5-2-14, Caitlin Henderson 1-0-2, Kaitlyn Rines 2-0-5, Abby Bragg 0-0-0, Gabrielle Theriault 0-1-1, Hannah Gallant 0-0-0, Arrabine Dunn 0-0-0, Naudia Wesley 0-0-0, Alannah Knox 0-0-0, Sammy Zak 0-0-0, Abby Campbell 0-0-0. Totals — 8-3-22.
Richmond — Jamie Plummer 2-5-9, Noell Acord 3-0-6, Alyssa Pearson 5-1-11, Brianna Snedeker 3-0-8, Danica Hurley 4-0-9, Lindsy Hoopingarner 0-2-2, Ciarra Lancaster 1-0-2, Michaela Lewia 0-0-0, Haley Murphy 1-0-2, Morgan Harrington 0-0-0, Payton Johnson 0-2-2. Totals — 19-10-51.
3-pointers — (B) Patrie 2, Rines; (R) Snedeker 2, Hurley.
Records — Richmond 17-1, Buckfield 5-15.
Next for the Bobcats — Thursday against No. 4 Seacoast Christian, 11:30 a.m., in the Western D semifinals at the Augusta Civic Center.