BANGOR, Maine — Washington Academy didn’t try to do anything fancy to stop Penquis standout Erica Lyford Tuesday night.
The fifth-ranked Raiders of East Machias kept Lyford uncomfortable and contained her teammates and scored the last 11 points of the first half to break open a close game en route to a 57-47 Eastern Maine Class C quarterfinal win over the second-ranked Patriots from Milo at the Bangor Auditorium.
Coach Gary Wood assigned junior forward Andi Flannery to cover Lyford, and Flannery did a solid job for the Raiders, who improved to 13-6 and advance to Friday’s semifinals.
“Tonight we just came in and we knew to win the game we had to play good defense and shut [Lyford] down and contain their team,” said sophomore center Taylor Seeley, who had quite an offensive night herself with 28 points and 15 rebounds, including nine on the offensive end.
The contest swung back-and-forth throughout the first half, but WA’s full-court traps forced Penquis (12-7) into multiple mistakes, swinging the game in the Raiders’ favor.
“At the end of the second quarter going into halftime we really turned up the pressure on defense,” said Wood. “We got a few steals, a few good looks at the basket.”
The Raiders outworked Penquis on the offensive glass, utilizing their quickness to come away with 18 offensive boards which led to multiple second- and third-chance looks.
“We usually have a hard time rebounding because we have such a small team, and I mean [our quickness is] what we rely on a lot to get the rebounds,” Seeley said.
Flannery was the other Raider in double figures with 13 points while grabbing eight boards and collecting four steals.
Lyford would keep the Patriots in striking distance in the second half, finishing with 29 points and 13 rebounds, but Kristin Chapman was the next highest scorer with eight points. Lyford had 17 second-half points.
“We just came up short tonight. We just didn’t get much out of anybody else,” Penquis coach Wally Russell said.