BANGOR — The John Bapst girls basketball team wasn’t expecting to see a 3-2 zone defense from the Hermon Hawks.
And neither of the teams, their assembled fans or the officials expected to see about 10 minutes of game “action” in which there was very little passing, no shooting and no scoring.
The end result of Friday evening’s Eastern Maine Class B quarterfinal, which seemed more like a study hall than a game, was a 25-9 victory for the No. 2 Crusaders of Bangor.
“Number one, we didn’t stall. Hermon did,” said John Bapst coach Mike Webb. “We had a seven-point lead and they can’t match up with us, so that’s why they wanted to sit back and not play basketball.
“I’m not going to have a team tell us how to play basketball. If they want to sit there, that’s fine with me. You saw what happened when they did come play us.”
Bapst will meet Medomak Valley of Waldoboro in a 2 p.m. Wednesday semifinal. No. 3 Medomak beat No. 6 Caribou 52-30 in the tourney opener.
After Bapst’s Abby Pyne hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to make the score 7-2 Bapst with 53 seconds left in the first quarter, the Crusaders started the second quarter by standing near half-court with the ball cradled on one of their guards’ hip.
The stall lasted 90 seconds before the Crusaders began passing back and forth on the perimeter without attempting to send any players into the paint.
Nearly five minutes (4:53) elapsed before points went on the board as Riley Boyle drew a foul and hit both free throws. After a missed Hermon shot and Bapst rebound, Boyle again scored, this time from the left block off a pass from Brittany Williams.
Hermon’s Marisa Kelley broke the Hawks’ scoring drought with a hoop from the left block with 2:20 left, but that would be the only basket and only points of the quarter for Hermon.
“It’s hard to just stand there and let five minutes go by without scoring, but we just wanted to pull them out of their zone because we weren’t playing well against it and weren’t ready for it,” Williams said.
The 16-3 Crusaders continued the tactic in the third quarter and things stayed scoreless — and shotless — for another five minutes before Williams scored on a high-post drive that ignited a game-clinching 9-0 scoring run.
Williams led the team with nine rebounds and four assists.
“That’s pretty much what I focus on is my defense and boxing out because I don’t score a lot,” said the senior forward.
Pyne finished with a game-best “double-single” of nine points and nine rebounds. Boyle also scored nine.
Kelley led the 11-9 Hawks with six rebounds. No one had more than three points.
“We can play against a zone, but it’s probably my fault we weren’t prepared for a 3-2,” said Webb. “We were preparing for a 2-3, so I’ll take the blame for that.”
In the first game, Medomak Valley was hoping for a better result at the Bangor Auditorium after quarterfinal losses to Nokomis of Newport last winter and Presque Isle two years ago.
So when Caribou halved a 16-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter of Friday’s Eastern Maine Class B quarterfinal, the memories of frustrations past could have come back into play.
Not to worry, though, for coach Randy Hooper’s Panthers, who made 10 of 11 free-throw tries to fuel a game-ending 16-2 run that gave Medomak the victory.
“The first and second years we were here we were so focused on the smells and excitement of being here, we took our shoes off and went out on the court (before the game),” said Ericka Christensen, a 6-foot-2 senior center who led the Panthers with 18 points and 11 rebounds. “But this year we realized that no matter where we are, the basket is 10 feet high, and we just focused on what we had to do.”
Medomak Valley is now 17-2 and Caribou ended at 9-10.
Medomak Valley used its height advantage and an aggressive half-court defense that forced 21 Caribou turnovers to extend a 24-14 halftime lead to as much as 36-20 on two free throws by Christensen with 2:29 left in the third quarter.
“When we left here last year after playing Nokomis, we knew we had to score points in the paint and defend from the 3-point line in,” Hooper said. “Teams that progress defend in the paint and score in the paint, and that’s been our focus, and I thought we did a nice job of that today.”
But Caribou outscored the Panthers 8-0 over the next three minutes, with a steal-and-layup by Jenna Selander and a 3-pointer by Katelynn Tardie drawing the Vikings within 36-28 with 6:29 left.
But Christensen worked inside for a three-point play and Kasey Benner converted an offensive rebound to push the Medomak Valley lead back to 41-28, and from there the Panthers put Caribou away from the free-throw line.
“I was just so pleased we didn’t panic,” said Hooper. “When they cut it to eight, from that point on we completely outscored them. Now we’ve gotten over the hump.”
Alanna Vose added 10 points for the Panthers and Lindsay Ranquist scored eight.
“They’re well-coached, a well-balanced team with three different kids in Christensen, Ranquist and Vose who can put 20 on you every night,” said Caribou coach Ryan Deprey. “We gave it the best shot we had, they’re No. 3 for a reason.”
Selander led Caribou with 11 points.