BANGOR, Maine — Top-seeded Jonesport-Beals dominated rebounding to fuel a quick-striking transition attack Thursday that carried them to a 76-49 Eastern Maine Class D boys basketball victory over No. 4 Katahdin at the Bangor Auditorium.
Coach Gordon Faulkingham’s Royals (16-2) advance to face No. 6 Deer Isle-Stonington (14-7) in Saturday’s 10:45 a.m. regional title game at the Auditorium.
Jonesport-Beals (16-2) slowed the Cougars from Stacyville (15-6) with a swarming 3-2 zone defense that caused several of the Cougars’ 20 turnovers. The Royals also took advantage of their front-court height advantage to grab a 44-28 rebounding edge.
“We really came to play defensively and rebounding,” said junior forward Garet Beal.
“That was good team defense,” he added. “That’s probably one of the better games we’ve played defensively.”
The rebounds often led to quick outlet passes and Jonesport-Beals successfully attacked the basket with an aggressive, unselfish performance. The Royals were able to find the open man for layups and close-range baskets that allowed them to take the upper hand and pull away.
“We don’t match up very well with them,” said Katahdin co-coach Cliff Urquhart.
“We knew we had to keep the score in the 40s and 50s and that transition just killed us,” he added. “Every time we’d miss a shot, we didn’t get any offensive rebounds and they were out on the break. We didn’t have an answer for that.”
Senior Matthew Alley went 11-for-17 from the floor on his way to a game-high 25 points for Jonesport-Beals, which shot 53 percent (31-for-59) from the field. Garet Beal dominated the paint by scoring 20 points and grabbing 12 rebounds and used his court vision to hand out six assists.
Senior Justin Alley tossed in 15 points with nine rebounds and Vinal Crowley contributed five points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocked shots. Thomas Beal also was solid coming off the bench.
“We knew that we needed to get the whole team involved,” Garet Beal said. “We worked on the inside-out game.”
Katahdin was paced by 16 points and five rebounds from junior Colton Bivighouse. Bill Livezey posted nine points and six assists, Jesse McNally provided eight points and six boards and Braden Cunningham chipped in with six points.
Jonesport-Beals built its success around its defense, which started out as man-to-man and eventually switched to the fluid zone. Katahdin shot 6-for-21 in the first half.
The Royals ran off 10 unanswered points in the first quarter to turn an 8-7 deficit into a 17-8 lead. They then went on a 12-4 surge in the second quarter to take control.
It began with Matthew Alley’s 15-footer off a Crowley assist, then Garet Beal scored on a putback. Cunningham broke the streak for the Cougars with two foul shots, before Justin Alley converted an offensive rebound.
Bivighouse scored a rebound hoop — Katahdin’s first field goal in more than nine minutes, but Matthew Alley hit an 18-footer and Garet Beal made a layup in transition to make it 29-14 with 3:01 left in the half.
The Royals later went on a 16-2 third-quarter binge to pull away.