BANGOR — The Machias boys basketball team had a significant height advantage over Schenck of East Millinocket during its Eastern Main Class D quarterfinal Monday night.
It just took the Bulldogs a half to figure out how to use it.
Fifth-ranked Machias — making just its second trip to the Bangor Auditorium since 1995 — spotted the defending state champions a 16-point halftime lead, then yielded only nine points after intermission to stun the fourth-ranked Wolverines 41-36.
“We came out nervous in the first half and we didn’t run our plays,” said Brian Getchell, a 6-foot-4 senior center who had game-high totals of 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulldogs. “At halftime we came in and said, ‘Let’s just make it respectable.’ We just wanted to play with pride and make it a close game, and we came back.”
The win earned Machias (16-3) a trip to Thursday night’s semifinal against the winner of Monday’s late game between No.1 Central Aroostook of Mars Hill and No. 8 Deer Isle-Stonington.
Schenck ends its season with a 12-7 record.
“We turned the ball over too many times and gave up too many rebounds and let the momentum go their way,” said Schenck star Brandon Theriault, who scored 15 points and dished out six assists. “They got ahead and we couldn’t come back.”
Theriault had 13 points and four assists during the first half in leading the Wolverines to a 27-11 lead.
But Machias switched from a 2-3 zone to a 2-1-2 half-court trap in the third quarter, and that served to get the ball out of Theriault’s hands. He managed just two points on 1-of-4 shooting after intermission.
“I wanted to run and jump Theriault a little bit and make someone else beat us,” said Machias coach Jim Getchell.
Machias also got the ball inside more often as the game progressed, and Brian Getchell and younger brother Dustin, the coach’s sons, grew dominant, combining for 20 points and 19 rebounds over the final two periods.
“In the second half we came out a totally different team,” said Brian Getchell. “We rebounded, we got the ball inside and we won.”
Machias took its first lead since 5-4 at 36-34 when Brian Getchell scored on a pass from senior guard Jacob Scoville with 1:38 remaining.
Phillip Morse made three free throws and Dustin Getchell (seven points, 11 rebounds) added two from the line during the final 54 seconds to preserve the victory.
“All year long we’ve been the underdog and we were wicked nervous in the first half, the nerves were raw, we were leaving layups on the rack,” said coach Getchell. “In the second half we came out and played the way we have all year long. The seniors believed in it and got it done.”