BANGOR, Maine — Playing on the same hardwood that her father Matt graced a generation ago, it’s understandable that Parise Rossignol was a tad nervous early in Monday night’s Eastern Maine Class D girls basketball quarterfinal at the Bangor Auditorium.
But when the Van Buren sophomore’s first shot of the night — a 3-pointer from the top of the key — swished through the net, the nerves were gone.
“I needed that one to go in because my heart was about to pop out of my chest,” said Rossignol, who registered 33 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and five blocked shots to power fourth-ranked Van Buren to a 72-45 win over No. 5 Shead of Eastport.
The Crusaders (16-3), coached by Parise’s father, Matt Rossignol, will take on County rival and No. 1 Washburn in a Thursday semifinal at 8:35 p.m. Washburn rolled by No. 8 Deer Isle-Stonington 78-40 in the nightcap. Shead finishes 12-7.
Washburn and Van Buren split during the regular season with the Beavers winning in Washburn 52-37 the Crusaders prevailing in Van Buren 66-56.
The Tigerettes made things tough for the favored Crusaders early, as Randi DeWitt’s 3-pointer gave Shead a 13-12 lead with 1:14 left in the opening quarter.
But Rossignol responded with a perimeter shot of her own on the subsequent possession, and the Crusaders never trailed again.
Part of Van Buren’s first-quarter struggles were attributed to late rotations on defense.
“The biggest thing was anticipating as opposed to reacting,” said coach Rossignol. “I thought we reacted to the ball a little bit [better] as opposed to anticipating.”
Ashley Wilson was the other Crusader in double figures with 16 points, and after picking up two first-quarter fouls, she scored 10 second-quarter points as Van Buren forged a 36-23 halftime lead, settling into a groove.
“Half my team has never been in this building, never mind playing in here,” said coach Rossignol. “We took them to see the afternoon session to give them a little bit of a feel for it.”
Shead tried to slow down Parise Rossignol with a triangle-and-two, but she displayed outstanding quickness and floor vision, while her teammates hit open shots to overcome the defense.
“If they’re going to take me away, the other girls need to step up, which they did tonight,” Parise said.
Wilson certainly did, as most of her points came within eight feet of the hoop, while Felisha Bouchard contributed nine points.
“We can’t beat good teams with just [Parise] scoring,” said coach Rossignol.
The Crusaders shot the ball well as a unit, finishing 27-for-43 from the floor, a 62-percent clip.
“I’ve come [to the Auditorium] every year since I was a little girl, and soon as I stepped on that court and heard the fans, you can’t describe it,” Parise said. “It’s just awesome.”
Shead was led by Jenna Demolet and Jennifer Cushing with 14 points apiece.
In the nightcap, freshman guard Mackenzie Worcester made her Bangor Auditorium a memorable one with a game-high 29 points and she and her Washburn teammates forced turnover after turnover with their swarming man-to-man en route to the victory over Deer Isle-Stoningon.
The 18-1 Beavers scored the game’s first 14 points and put the game away after the Mariners had rallied to within eight by rattling off a 22-9 run triggered by Carsyn Koch’s steal and layup to close out the first quarter.
“I was pretty happy with my performance,” said Worcester. “I thought we all played well. We worked hard offensively and defensively.”
The Beavers turned several of those turnovers into points as their transition game was impressive and wore the Mariners down.
“That’s our goal, to wear teams down,” said Washburn coach Mike Carlos.
“I was hoping the pressure wouldn’t bother us as much as it did,” said Deer Isle-Stonington coach Darren Eaton. “Washburn is bigger, stronger and faster than they were last year.”
“They run the floor extremely well,” said Mariner senior guard Janelle Ciomei, who had a team-high 18 points.
The Beavers forced six turnovers in the game’s first three minutes en route to building their 14-0 lead. Worcester had seven points and an assist during the run.
Worcester had 10 rebounds to go with her 29 points. Joan Overman had 11 points, Rayah Saucier had eight and Olivia Doody had seven points. Koch and Carmen Bragg had six each and Bragg had five assists.
Ciomei had six rebounds and two steals to go with her 18 points for the 12-8 Mariners, the eighth seed. Chelsea Brown added 10 points, 11 rebounds and two steals.