BANGOR, Maine — Van Buren star Parise Rossignol had a little too much room to operate early in Thursday night’s Eastern Maine Class D semifinal against Washburn.
The Beavers found a way to bottle up the slippery guard, which proved the key to their victory.
Top-seeded Washburn slowed Rossignol and No. 4 Van Buren with an active 1-3-1 zone defense and made a first-half lead hold up to earn a 52-46 victory at the Bangor Auditorium.
Coach Mike Carlos’ Beavers (19-1) take on No. 7 Hodgdon, a 42-37 upset winner over No. 3 Central Aroostook in Thursday’s other semifinal, in Saturday’s 9:05 a.m. regional championship game.
“They had beaten us. We wanted our revenge,” Carlos said of the defending state champion Beavers, who had lost to the Crusaders in last fall’s regional soccer championship.
The teams had split their regular-season meetings, with Washburn taking a 52-37 victory Dec. 16 at home and Van Bruen winning 66-56 on its home floor on Jan. 13.
Washburn’s defensive efforts, with Carsyn Koch playing at the top of the zone, paid dividends. Rossignol (7 rebounds, 5 assists) scored a game-high 18 points, but 10 of those came in the first quarter.
“The key was the 1-3-1,” Carlos said. “She was just tearing us up with our man-to-man.”
On offense, the Beavers forced the tempo whenever possible and utilized the crafty play of freshman guard Mackenzie Worcester, who racked up nine assists and scored 10 points.
Koch tossed in a team-high 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds for Washburn, which received 10 points and seven rebounds from Nicole Olson and six points and seven rebounds from Carmen Bragg.
“Hats off to them. They’re a superior team to us,” said Van Buren coach Matt Rossignol, Parise’s dad. “I thought we battled, though.”
Ashley Wilson contributed 12 points and five rebounds for No. 4 Van Buren (17-4), while Felisha Bouchard posted 12 points and four blocked shots and Natasha Bourgoin added nine rebounds.
Washburn seized control with a 17-2 run that began late in the first quarter.
Koch scored a fast-break layup and Worcester sank a free throw to give the Beavers an 18-17 lead after eight minutes. Washburn continued the surge in the second quarter.
With the game tied at 19, Worcester fed Koch for a baseline layup, found Bragg on a back-door cut for a layup and drove the lane for a bucket to put the Beavers on top. Bragg’s rebound basket and an Olson 3-pointer pushed the lead to 30-19.
“That’s the style they play, they’re very athletic,” coach Rossignol said of Washburn’s fast-paced approach.
Van Buren made its comeback try starting late in the third, mounting a 10-1 burst that got it within three (47-44) on Bouchard’s 12-footer with 2:11 to play.
However, Worcester set up a Koch basket and scored on a drive to help Washburn hold on.