BANGOR, Maine — Ellsworth’s top scorer sat on the bench most of the first half with two early fouls Wednesday afternoon.
It didn’t even faze the second-seeded Eagles during their Eastern Maine Class B semifinal against No. 3 Mount View of Thorndike.
Ellsworth shot 50 percent from the floor, largely without Ryan Petros, and built a 10-point halftime lead. Once the senior guard returned, the Eagles surged to an 84-64 victory at the Bangor Auditorium.
Petros connected for 27 points to spearhead coach Peter Austin’s 17-3 Eagles into Saturday’s 3:35 p.m. regional title game against No. 1 Camden Hills, a 68-48 winner over No. 5 Medomak Valley of Waldoboro.
“We love to run and gun, get it up the court quick and score in transition,” said Petros, who scored 10 points in the third quarter and wound up with 20 points in his first 10 minutes, 15 seconds of action.
In the first game, Ellsworth shot 53 percent (29-for-55) from the field and went 23-for-29 from the foul line (79 percent) in a strong offensive performance.
Andrew Austin scored 17 points, Cote Card netted 13 and Brad Folmer added eight to help the Eagles repel a fourth-quarter rally by the Mustangs.
Petros enjoyed watching as his teammates picked up the slack in the first half.
“We were moving the ball up and down the court, making the extra pass, hitting the open man and scoring, too. It was awesome,” he said.
Folmer hit two 3-pointers and Card scored five points as Ellsworth turned a 21-20 deficit into a 33-21 lead midway through the second quarter. Mount View (16-4) never got closer than eight after that and trailed by as many as 21 points in the third quarter.
Petros had six points during a 9-0 spurt that ended most of the suspense.
“We couldn’t play much better than that,” Austin said.
“I have confidence in all these kids and they all can score,” he added.
Zach Babin (14 points) and the Mustangs showed plenty of fight, battling to within 70-60 on his 10-footer with 4:27 left. However, the Eagles rode the foul line the rest of the way.
“We brought it back to 10. I’m proud of my guys,” said Mount View coach Steve Caron.
“[Ellsworth] shot tremendous. That’s a great basketball team,” he added.
Dylan Keller tallied 14 points and Jason Hughes scored 13 with six rebounds for the Mustangs.
In the second game, Camden Hills applied relentless defensive pressure at one end and took advantage of their balanced offense at the other in beating Medomak Valley (15-5) for the third time this season.
The Panthers never backed down, but could not contain Windjammers 6-foot-6 junior forwards Tyler McFarland and Keegan Pieri.
McFarland led the way with 23 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots, while Pieri scored 15 points. Camden Hills attacked the basket relentlessly, which resulted in numerous trips to the foul line, where they went 23-for-31.
“We’re very lucky. We have kids that have been playing the game their whole lives and playing year-round, so no matter what size [we are], we’re fundamentally sound, so we play good ball,” said McFarland.
Coach Jeff Hart’s Windjammers led 33-24 at halftime, then Pieri scored twice during an 8-0 run to open the second half that provided Camden Hills with more of a cushion.
James Weferling sank two free throws and Cameron Gartley made one, before Pieri scored back-to-back baskets with a 10-footer from the lane off his own steal and made a layup off a Gartley steal and feed.
Coach Nick DePatsy’s Panthers made only one field goal in the third quarter as the ’Jammers extended their lead to 24 points at 53-29.
“Medomak’s a good team,” McFarland said. “They’re very well-coached and they tried different strategies versus us. It was great to get a good win against a pretty unpredictable team.”
Gartley and Joel Gabriele contributed eight points each for Camden Hills.
Alex MacKenzie paced Medomak Valley with 14 points and eight rebounds. Isaac Greenrose added 13 points.