BANGOR, Maine — Alonzo Connor and Matt Hall sparked a strong finish that gave the No. 3 Gardiner Tigers a 56-47 overtime victory over Nokomis in Eastern Maine Class B quarterfinal action Friday night at the Bangor Auditorium.
The Tigers (17-2) will play No. 2 Medomak Valley of Waldoboro (17-2) in Wednesday’s 2:05 p.m. semifinal. The Panthers beat No. 10 Oceanside of Rockland in that new school’s first-ever tourney appearance, 65-39.
In the first game Connor, a 6-foot senior forward, and Hall, also a 6-foot senior forward, each posted four points in the last four minutes of regulation and the four-minute overtime to spark the Tigers, who outscored the Warriors of Newport 9-0 in overtime.
“We knew they were up in fouls,” said Connor, who also starred for the Gardiner football team. “Coach said to attack them to draw more fouls, and it seemed to work.”
Gardiner coach Jason Cassidy admired the effort.
“He works, works, works,” said Cassidy. “Others may provide more scoring, but he’s the heart and soul of the team.”
A Connor free throw, two Hall free throws and a Connor hoop sandwiched a free throw by Nokomis’ Andrew Cartwright that closed a four-point deficit and sent the game to OT.
A 3-point try by junior guard Spencer Hartsgrove with 32 seconds left went awry, and neither team got a good look after that.
Nokomis coach Carl Parker faulted himself for not calling a timeout after an offensive rebound near the end, and he didn’t blame his players for the loss.
“I’m proud of our kids,” he said.
Connor hit one of two free throws to start the overtime, and Hall followed about 45 seconds later with a basket. The lead stayed at three, with neither team scoring, until senior guard Jake Palmer tallied a conventional 3-point play with 58.3 seconds left, pushing Gardiner’s lead to six.
The Warriors looked for opportunities but couldn’t find any openings and senior guard Justin Lovely hit three free throws in the last 20 seconds to seal the win.
Senior center Aaron Toman topped Gardiner’s scoring with 14 points, Hall finished with 12 and Connor had 11.
Cartwright, a 6-6 sophomore forward, led the Warriors with 15 points and Hartsgrove added 13.
In the late game, Medomak Valley shot 57 percent in the second half and forced many of Oceanside’s 20 turnovers to pull away.
The Panthers, who beat the Mariners twice during the regular season by a combined 15 points, led from start to finish.
Oceanside (12-8) was without 6-foot-5 junior forward Tyler Gilson, who had ankle surgery recently after being injured in the regular-season finale against Medomak Valley.
“That definitely hurt them on the boards and inside, definitely,” said Medomak Valley coach Nick DePatsy.
That helped Medomak Valley take advantage of 6-7 center John Murray and Ryan Ripley, each of whom snatched 10 rebounds to help the Panthers claim a 39-23 advantage on the boards. That included 14 offensive rebounds.
“We held their penetration, kept them out of the paint, which was a key for us, and we rebounded well,” DePatsy said.
Murray paced the Panthers with a game-high 19 points, Isaac Greenrose tossed in 18 points with three assists and Ripley contributed six points. Shane Osier provided seven points and four rebounds.
Coach Matt Breen’s Mariners were led by Shea Davenport, who posted nine points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots. Alex Wallace added nine points and Sam Meklin chipped in with five points and four blocks for Oceanside, which blocked eight shots.
Medomak Valley led only 23-17 at halftime after a sluggish shooting effort (10-for-30) and some turnover difficulties of its own.
The Panthers found their offensive rhythm in the third quarter. Greenrose hit a short runner in the lane 18 seconds into the half to open what would be a game-changing 14-2 run.
Davenport answered with a rebound hoop for the Mariners, but two Murray free throws and another Greenrose basket from the paint pushed MV’s lead to 29-19 with 6:33 left in the quarter.
“We weren’t reversing the ball and taking good shots,” DePatsy said of the first half. “In the third quarter we started doing that, getting the inside-outside stuff, and knocked down some easy shots.”
The Mariners extended the surge to 12 unanswered points, pushing the advantage to 37-19 at the 2:02 mark. Oceanside went 3-for-11 from the floor in the period and wound up 6-for-28 (21 percent) in the second half.