BANGOR – The Orono girls basketball team struggled with turnovers and foul trouble in Tuesday evening’s Eastern Maine Class C quarterfinal against Woodland.
But the No. 4 Red Riots also managed to force enough turnovers and convert at the free-throw line to hold off the No. 5 Dragons 47-43 at the Bangor Auditorium.
The victory sends Orono to the semifinal round Friday, when the Riots will face the winner of Tuesday’s late quarterfinal between No. 1 Calais and No. 9 Dexter.
Jade Keezer led Orono with 17 points, including a 4-for-4 effort from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter which helped slow down a surging Woodland team. The Dragons whittled down a 12-point Orono lead in the third quarter to five by the end of the period.
Woodland’s Taylor Cochran scored two quick baskets at the start of the fourth quarter to cut Orono’s lead to 33-32, but that was the closest the Dragons would get. Despite some turnover struggles as the taller Red Riots tried to push the ball inside, the 5-foot-10 Jillian Woodward and Keezer each had key baskets down the stretch to maintain a cushion.
“Woodland’s really aggressive and I don’t think we were ready for that,” said 5-10 Orono senior Morgan Dickey, who scored 13 points and had 10 rebounds. “We just had to stay composed and get off good shots. We could see some holes to the basket, and we had to take advantage of those.”
Turnovers and foul trouble caught up with Woodland, which had three starters foul out in the fourth quarter when the game was still within reach. The Riots responded by going 10-for-15 from the line in the fourth.
“We can’t afford to lose anyone,” Dragons coach Arnie Clark said. “It just changes everything we do. I thought the kids played hard and did a good job, but we had some turnovers in the open court we don’t normally have. That really hurt us.”
Cochran paced the Dragons with 16 points.