BANGOR, Maine — There were bound to be some nerves when Maddie McVicar ran onto the Bangor Auditorium court for the first time Wednesday morning.
That didn’t stop the freshman point guard from handling her first dose of Eastern Maine tournament pressure.
McVicar hit two 3-pointers to spark a critical 10-0, fourth-quarter run that propelled No. 2 Calais to a 49-46 Class C quarterfinal basketball victory over No. 7 Narraguagus of Harrington.
McVicar tossed in a team-high 23 points to send the Red Devils (16-0) into Friday’s 7:05 p.m. semifinal against No. 3 Central of Corinth (16-3), which beat No. 6 Bucksport 34-24 in Wednesday’s opener.
“At first I got a little nervous, but I got used to it after a couple times up and down the floor,” said McVicar, who was the glue for Calais late in the game.
It marked the fifth meeting between the two teams this season. Calais won the first two regular-season games by 21 points each, then pulled out a 61-54 overtime victory on Feb. 6 at Calais.
On Wednesday, it was defensive pressure and offensive poise that carried Calais. The Blue Devils hounded the Knights (12-8) into 27 turnovers, including 15 in the second half.
“I think the pressure bothered them a little bit in the second half,” Calais coach Dana Redding said. “We started doubling the ball a little bit, kind of took them out of their game.”
Calais, which shot 16 for 61 (26 percent), executed better late and finally found some holes in Narraguagus’ 1-2-2 zone.
Brooke Young opened the key surge with an offensive rebound basket with 7:17 left, then McVicar drained a 3 off a kickout pass from Young after a Narraguagus turnover.
“I think we took our time more and looked for the open man,” McVicar said of Calais’ offensive approach.
Young followed with a fast-break layup and McVicar eventually hit another 3-pointer to make it 40-32 with 5:41 left.
“We didn’t hit any 3’s the first half, so they’re content to just hang back,” Redding said.
The Knights couldn’t get closer than three after that.
Young finished with eight points, seven rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block while Paige Gillespie added four points and nine rebounds. Calais went 12 for 26 from the foul line.
Ripley King was a force for Narraguagus with a game-high 24 points, nine rebounds, two steals and three blocks. Anna Ramsey contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds and Lauren Ramsay added seven points and four rebounds. Lindsey Collora handed out seven assists.
In the early game, Central overcame a 9-for-38 (24 percent) shooting effort and 20 turnovers to hold off Bucksport.
The teams split their regular-season meetings, with Central winning 39-22 on Jan. 10 at Bucksport and the Golden Bucks earning a 37-35 win Feb. 7 at Corinth.
The Red Devils had built an 11-point edge (23-12) in the third quarter, but had to survive protracted offensive woes during the last 13 minutes. Central went more than 8½ minutes without a field goal, but played good enough defense to keep the Golden Bucks from coming all the way back.
“That’s the way the season’s been, we’ve played hard, but we go into those lulls a lot of times,” Central coach Diane Rollins said.
“Coaches always look for growth throughout the season and us being able to take care of the ball and pull it out is something we haven’t been able to do,” she added.
Bucksport, which was plagued by 16 turnovers of its own, got within 24-22 on a Shelby Redman foul shot with 6:59 remaining.
However, Sam Brownell ended Central’s field-goal drought when she scored off her own miss with 4:16 left. That started a 7-0 run that helped the Red Devils ice it from the foul line.
“We were expecting it to be close anyway, because our last game with them was really close, but I’m glad we pulled it together so it wasn’t so close toward the end,” Brownell said.
Brownell registered a double-double with 11 points, 14 rebounds and two blocked shots to pace Central. Max McHugh contributed 10 points and six rebounds, while Bri Skolfield added five points and nine boards.
The Red Devils outrebounded the Golden Bucks 45-32.
Redman was the catalyst for Bucksport with six points, eight rebounds and four blocks. However, the Bucks went 9 for 48 (19 percent) from the field and 4 for 14 from the foul line.
Sadie Wight posted five points and four rebounds and Mindy Pye added four points and six rebounds with two steals.