BANGOR — The Fort Fairfield High School girls basketball team will get another crack at Aroostook County rival Washburn Thursday at 3:35 p.m.
But, this time, the loser goes home for good.
Eastern Maine Class D top seed Washburn, 17-2 and winner of 13 of its last 14, and fourth seed Fort Fairfield, 15-4 and the defending state champ, advanced to the Thursday’s semifinal as each took a different route in Monday’s quarterfinal round.
Washburn won the two regular season meetings 54-46 and 51-46.
Senior center Brooke Beaulieu scored eight unanswered points in the fourth quarter to lead the Tigers to a hard-fought 51-45 victory over fifth seed Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook while Washburn avenged a quarterfinal loss to Bangor Christian with a convincing 56-26 triumph over the cold-shooting Patriots, the eighth seed.
Junior forward Amanda Hotham had a game-high 23 points for Fort Fairfield and also contributed nine rebounds and five steals.
But it was Beaulieu’s eight-point run that transformed a 39-38 lead into a comfortable 47-38 lead with two minutes left.
The Warriors cut it to within 47-43 with 41 seconds left on Shelby Hartin’s put-back and Janel Rockwell’s 3-pointer but Hotham hit two free throws three seconds later and Logan Bubar added another to clinch it and snap Southern Aroostook’s 15-game winning streak.
Beaulieu started her eight-point run by splitting a pair of defenders and laying the ball in.
She then converted a Hotham air ball and hit another inside shot off a Hotham miss before capping it with a short jumper from underneath the basket off a Danielle Tracy pass.
“Once you get one basket, you start getting excited and hyped up and you work 10 times harder,” said Beaulieu. “Once you get going, you keep going and going and going.”
“She got on a roll and we had no answer for her,” said Southern Aroostook coach Cliff Urquhart. whose Warriors jumped out to a 7-0 lead only to see the Tigers rattle off nine straight to close out the first period.
Southern Aroostook had strung together an 8-2 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to take a 34-30 lead with 6:30 left but Tracy’s only points of the game, coming on a 3-pointer off an inbounds pass from Sydney Churchill, triggered a 17-4 flurry that included 10 Beaulieu points. She had a basket before she rattled off her eight in a row.
“It wasn’t a set play. I was open so I figured I might as well take the shot,” said Tracy.
“That was a real momentum changer,” said Urquhart. “But the story of the game was our 12 turnovers in the second half.”
Beaulieu finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and two steals. Logan Bubar had six points and two assists.
Olivia Raymond had 14 points, a game-high five assists and six rebounds for 15-3 Southern Aroostook and also did an impressive job defending Hotham, who was held to 6-for-22 shooting from the field. Freshman Sable Altvater had 13 points and eight rebounds but was hampered by foul trouble in the fourth quarter. Shelby Hartin notched eight points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
In the second game, Washburn answered a game-opening 3-pointer by Whitney Holmes by reeling off the next 10 points and the Beavers used a string of 14 consecutive points bridging the second and third quarters to build a comfortable 35-12 lead.
Senior forward Rebecca Campbell scored 20 points, grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds and dished out two assists to pace Washburn and freshman guard Carmen Bragg also poured in 20 points and added four rebounds and two assists.
“They beat us in the quarterfinals last year (41-26) so we were out for blood, as the saying goes,” said Campbell. “I was happy with everyone’s performance.”
The Beavers made life miserable for the Patriots with their full-court zone trap, forcing a lot of turnovers and hurried shots.
“Coach (Mike Carlos) said by putting pressure on the ball, it forces the other team to make quicker decisions with it and they’re more likely to mess up,” said Campbell.
Bangor Christian shot just 7.4 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (2-for-27) and only 22 percent from the floor overall (11-for-50).
“We’re a 3-point shooting team and if that’s off, it hurts us,” said Bangor Christian coach Phil Robinson. “Washburn hit a lot of shots today and their ball reversal worked very well. It was hard to extend out on them.”
“We’ve pressed all season long. We find a press that works against a particular team and use it,” said Carlos, who received at least three rebounds from seven players.
Emma Johnson’s eight points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots were team-highs for 12-7 Bangor Christian. Holmes had five points and five rebounds and Samantha Martin and Kristen Roemmich combined for 11 rebounds.