BANGOR, Maine — Simply put, Mount Desert Island girls basketball coach Brent Barker was not going to let Winslow’s post duo of 6-foot-1 Megan Pelletier and 5-11 Liz Ferry have their way in the post Wednesday night.
The second-ranked Trojans doubled-teamed those two effectively throughout the night, and beat the third-ranked Black Raiders at their own game with a patient offensive attack to post a 32-23 Eastern Maine Class B semifinal victory at the Bangor Auditorium.
MDI (18-2) advances to Saturday’s 2:05 p.m. regional championship against either No. 1 Presque Isle or No. 4 Nokomis of Newport while Winslow finishes the season 17-3.
Barker figured the magic number for a victory would be 40 points – and while MDI fell short of that goal, it attained the other one of keeping Pelletier and Ferry in check.
“What we worked on in practice was stopping their high-low, and we sort of picked [Alliyah Veilleux], we were going to use Jessica Swanson to help off her, and if she’s going to beat us she’s going to beat us,” Barker said.
That plan worked, as the Black Raiders, who never led, couldn’t get anything going from the outside.
“When you throw three defenders at our two kids and other kids aren’t able to step up and hit outside shots, that’s really what it comes down to,” Winslow coach Tom Nadeau said.
The pace of the game was slow and deliberate throughout, and MDI used its offensive patience to outscore Winslow 15-10 over the second and third quarters to take a seven-point cushion into the fourth.
The Trojans increased that up to eight on Brailee Black’s driving shot down the lane with 5:27 left, but Winslow scored the next five points to get within three.
But Megan Phelps, who led all scorers with 12 points, went 6-for-7 from the foul line over the game’s final 4:02, and she regained her focus after missing the front end of a 1-and-1 with 1:05 to play.
“I was like, OK, relax, it’s just a game, everything’s fine, and on the next couple, I took my time and took an extra breath,” said Phelps, who also gathered 10 rebounds.
MDI struggled offensively in the early going, missing its first 10 field-goal attempts but attacked the basket better as the game wore on.
Trojans’ senior guard Sara Carroll said the defensive plan was fairly simple: Play tough man-to-man defense and track Ferry and Pelletier like hounds.
“We basically just played man right on them [and] really helped on the taller girls and that’s what we did,” said Carroll.
MDI senior Brigitte Pratt, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament and sprained her MCL playing ball over the summer, saw her first action of the season in the final seconds, coming in to sink two free throws after Jessica Swanson was hit in the eye and couldn’t shoot.
Pelletier was Winslow’s high scorer with eight points.