BRUNSWICK — The Brunswick girls’ basketball team played the first half and into the third quarter without much rhythm, pace or flow on offense.
The Dragons, however, had Dakota Shipley. As it turned out, that was enough.
Shipley scored 25 points with 12 rebounds, providing a spark early and poise late as Brunswick outlasted Falmouth, 42-37.
The game was a matchup of two of Class A South’s top teams. The Dragons improved to 11-1, while the Navigators fell to 9-4.
“It was a tough game, tough win,” Shipley said. “It’s a great win. They’re definitely one of the best teams that we have to face.”
Brunswick rolled to a 61-36 win in the teams’ first matchup, but despite playing most of the rematch with star forward Anna Turgeon (four points) on the bench with foul trouble, the Navigators hung tough. Emily Abbott had 16 points for Falmouth and Maddy Christman grabbed 14 rebounds.
“We kind of went into this game treating it like a playoff game,” Falmouth Coach Dawn Armandi said. “I’m super proud of the way we played, especially through the adversity. … I’m going away actually happy, if you can be happy with a loss. It proves that we can play with them.”
Falmouth trailed 33-20 after three quarters, but got back-to-back 3-pointers from Abbott to pull within six with 5:46 left, then got within three at 40-37 with 31 seconds left on a Katie Lozoraitis (eight points ) 3-pointer.
The Dragons’ top player all night iced it from there as Shipley hit two free throws with 18 seconds left. It capped an impactful night on both ends of the floor, as Shipley also had a team-high four steals and was Brunswick’s top shot challenger.
“I feel like some of my teammates rely on me a lot to step up. I do need to step up this year, because I’m a junior,” she said. “I feel like it just comes to you early. If you’re hitting your shots early, you just have momentum and confidence to shoot more and make more.”
She was one of the few Dragons in a rhythm early, scoring 13 points while leading them to an 18-9 Halftime lead in a scuffling start for both teams.
“If she wasn’t scoring in the first half, I don’t know if we were (hanging on),” Brunswick Coach Sam Farrell said.
“She’s starting to figure out how Athletic she is, and I’m asking her to do a lot out there, defensively, rebounding and then getting to the hoop.”
Her teammates stepped up around her in the third quarter as Brunswick’s transition game roared into gear. After a pair of Abbott free throws made it 21-14, Falmouth turnovers and the Dragons’ pace fueled a 12-5 run over the next three minutes.
Still, the Navigators had a response.
“It was a hyper-competitive game,” said Farrell, whose team also had seven points from Alexis Morin. “It’s become quite the rivalry.”
Falmouth did it even as Turgeon, who scored 39 points against Portland on Friday, sat after picking up her fourth foul with 6:46 to go in the third.
“I’m proud of Emily for taking control of that game, that’s what she needs to do,” Armandi said. “We’ve been talking about that for a while. There are going to be times when teams are going to shut down Anna … and we need girls to step up.”
Tuesday’s boys’ high school roundup: South Portland overcomes slow start for basketball win