BANGOR — Two schoolboy basketball programs seeking to re-establish their postseason credentials advanced to the Eastern Maine Class C semifinals at the expense of two recent champions on Tuesday.
Sixth-ranked Sumner of East Sullivan rallied from a 12-point second-quarter deficit for its first win at the Bangor Auditorium since 1999, a 64-57 victory over third-seeded Calais, the Class C state champ in 2006, 2007 and 2009.
Second-ranked Penobscot Valley of Howland then scored its first tourney victory at Bangor since 1980 with a 58-42 win over No. 7 Washington Academy, the 2010 state champion.
Sumner and Penobscot Valley, both 16-3, will meet in the regional semifinals at 7 p.m. Friday.
In the first game, Sumner used its athleticism to wear down a seniorless Calais squad, initially spotting the Blue Devils a 25-13 lead midway through the second quarter before rallying within 27-24 by halftime.
“We felt very fortunate to be down by only three at the half,” said Sumner coach Walter Crabtree. “Calais had played great and shot the ball a little better than I thought they would, and we maybe had the jitters from being in this building.
“But the thing I’m pleased about is that they didn’t quit, they were going to play through it and that’s a great testament to their character.”
Sumner then used a run-and-jump man-to-man defense to force 16 second-half turnovers, 10 during the third quarter as the Tigers outscored Calais by 13 points to take a 48-40 lead.
“I thought their pressure got to us,” said Calais coach Ed Leeman. “We got that 12 point lead, but right before the end of the half they made that run, and then they just kept attacking.
“Their kids played extremely hard and they were definitely the better team today.”
Sumner also won the rebounding battle, particularly during the second half when Xavier Tracey and Tylor Martin combined to produce numerous second chances, with the duo combining for 16 points in the third quarter alone.
“Getting those rebounds are key for our offense, getting the ball out to the wing and getting those extra possessions,” said Martin.
Martin finished with 22 points and eight rebounds for Sumner, while Brett Deniger had 14 points, Gabe O’Brien had 10 points, six assists and four steals and Tracey scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
“I was just thinking we were going to make a run because that’s what we do,” said O’Brien. “We’re always a little slow to come out, but I knew we had what it takes to beat them and it turned out we did.”
Jeremy Beers led 15-4 Calais with 16 points, while Joe Mitchell scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
In the second game, Penobscot Valley guard Jacob Jones’ early perimeter shooting set the stage for a big performance by 6-foot-7 senior center Joe McCloskey, who finished with 27 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Jones made five jumpers during the game’s first 12 minutes, including two from beyond the 3-point arc, and that effort prevented Washington Academy from collapsing around the Howlers’ big man.
“It helps see the first couple of shots go,” said Jones. “I haven’t shot well all year like I did last year, so it’s nice to turn it on now in the tournament.”
Washington Academy (10-10) was within 16-15 on a Nick Pineo basket with 4:31 left in the second quarter, but McCloskey led the Howlers on a 15-2 run to close out the half with a 31-17 lead.
“I was getting double and tripled at the beginning, and Jake changed everything for us,” said McCloskey. “He was the big momentum builder, in the first half it was all about him.”
WA’s Tyler Varney hit a jumper and a 3-pointer to open the second half, but McCloskey scored eight points over the next seven minutes as Penobscot Valley closed out the third period with a 12-0 run good for a 43-22 lead.
“Certainly the game plan was that when McCloskey got the ball you wanted to double- and triple-team him, to do whatever you could to try to slow him down,” said WA coach Steve Pineo. “When they hit the 3s at the beginning it kind of got us off balance a little bit, and we just never really got going.”
Jones finished with 15 points and eight rebounds for Penobscot Valley, who were missing starting guard Eddie Cobb to a left ankle injury suffered during practice Monday.
Varney led WA with 10 points.