Dexter, Orono advance to Eastern Maine basketball semifinals, survive upset attempts

Orono's Hannah Clement, Piscataquis' Alex Speed, Orono's Elea Kass, and Piscataquis' Mikayla Dow (left to right) go after a loose ball second half action of the girls Class C quarterfinal game Tuesday morning at the Bangor Auditorium. Orono won the game 45-40 in overtime.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Orono's Hannah Clement, Piscataquis' Alex Speed, Orono's Elea Kass, and Piscataquis' Mikayla Dow (left to right) go after a loose ball second half action of the girls Class C quarterfinal game Tuesday morning at the Bangor Auditorium. Orono won the game 45-40 in overtime. Buy Photo
Orono's Hannah Clement goes down after getting tripped up with Piscataquis' Alex Speed in the first half of their girls Class C quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 29, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Orono won the game 45-40 in overtime.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Orono's Hannah Clement goes down after getting tripped up with Piscataquis' Alex Speed in the first half of their girls Class C quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 29, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Orono won the game 45-40 in overtime. Buy Photo
Orono's Katie Sypher drives by Piscataquis defender Corynne Fellows during first-half action of the girls Class C quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Orono won the game 45-40 in overtime.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Orono's Katie Sypher drives by Piscataquis defender Corynne Fellows during first-half action of the girls Class C quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Orono won the game 45-40 in overtime. Buy Photo
Piscataquis Community High School fans wave their hands during a foul shot attempt in the girls Class C quarterfinal game against Orono on Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Orono won the game 45-40 in overtime.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Piscataquis Community High School fans wave their hands during a foul shot attempt in the girls Class C quarterfinal game against Orono on Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Orono won the game 45-40 in overtime. Buy Photo
Orono's Jordan Hernandez (right) tries to strip the ball from Piscataquis' Alex Speed during their girls Class C quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Orono won the game 45-40 in overtime.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Orono's Jordan Hernandez (right) tries to strip the ball from Piscataquis' Alex Speed during their girls Class C quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Orono won the game 45-40 in overtime. Buy Photo
Piscataquis' Alex Speed goes up for a shot during second-half action of the girls Class C quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 29, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Orono won the game 45-40 in overtime.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Piscataquis' Alex Speed goes up for a shot during second-half action of the girls Class C quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 29, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Orono won the game 45-40 in overtime. Buy Photo
Orono's Jillian Woodward prepares to take a shot around Piscataquis defender Delani Bennett during first half action of the girls Class C quarterfinal game Tuesday morning at the Bangor Auditorium. Orono won the game 45-40 in overtime.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Orono's Jillian Woodward prepares to take a shot around Piscataquis defender Delani Bennett during first half action of the girls Class C quarterfinal game Tuesday morning at the Bangor Auditorium. Orono won the game 45-40 in overtime. Buy Photo
Orono's Katie Sypher drives tries to strip the ball from Piscataquis' Corynne Fellows during first half action of the girls Class C quarterfinal game Tuesday morning at the Bangor Auditorium. Orono won the game 45-40 in overtime.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Orono's Katie Sypher drives tries to strip the ball from Piscataquis' Corynne Fellows during first half action of the girls Class C quarterfinal game Tuesday morning at the Bangor Auditorium. Orono won the game 45-40 in overtime. Buy Photo
Sumner's Jordan Merchant takes a shot in second-half action of the Class C girls quarterfinal game against Dexter on Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Sumner's Jordan Merchant takes a shot in second-half action of the Class C girls quarterfinal game against Dexter on Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Buy Photo
Dexter's Alison Pease goes up for a shot in first-half action of the Class C girls quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Dexter won the game 38-36.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Dexter's Alison Pease goes up for a shot in first-half action of the Class C girls quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Dexter won the game 38-36. Buy Photo
Sumner's Jordan Merchant comes down with a rebound over Dexter's Gabrielle Adam (left) and Alison Pease (right) in first-half action of the Class C girls quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Dexter won the game 38-36.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Sumner's Jordan Merchant comes down with a rebound over Dexter's Gabrielle Adam (left) and Alison Pease (right) in first-half action of the Class C girls quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Dexter won the game 38-36. Buy Photo
Dexter's Jordyn Bell (left) goes up for a shot as Sumner's Jordan Merchant tries to block in first-half action of the Class C girls quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Dexter won the game 38-36.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Dexter's Jordyn Bell (left) goes up for a shot as Sumner's Jordan Merchant tries to block in first-half action of the Class C girls quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Dexter won the game 38-36. Buy Photo
Sumner's Jordan Merchant (center) looks to pass the ball as Dexter's Abbie Melvin (left) and Lauren Crane put pressure on her in second-half action of the Class C girls quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Dexter won the game 38-36.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Sumner's Jordan Merchant (center) looks to pass the ball as Dexter's Abbie Melvin (left) and Lauren Crane put pressure on her in second-half action of the Class C girls quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Dexter won the game 38-36. Buy Photo
Sumner's Turner Savana (center) takes a shot in first-half action of the Class C girls quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Dexter's Lauren Crane (left) and Gabrielle Adam defend. Dexter won the game 38-36.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Sumner's Turner Savana (center) takes a shot in first-half action of the Class C girls quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Dexter's Lauren Crane (left) and Gabrielle Adam defend. Dexter won the game 38-36. Buy Photo
Sumner's Jessica West (right) drives the ball down court with Dexter's Michaela White on her heels during second-half action of the Class C girls quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Dexter won the game 38-36.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Sumner's Jessica West (right) drives the ball down court with Dexter's Michaela White on her heels during second-half action of the Class C girls quarterfinal game Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013, at the Bangor Auditorium. Dexter won the game 38-36. Buy Photo
Posted Feb. 19, 2013, at 1:40 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 19, 2013, at 9:30 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Although both games came down to the wire, No. 2 Dexter and No. 3 Orono safely advanced to the semifinals in Eastern Maine Class C girls basketball quarterfinals Tuesday morning at the Bangor Auditorium.

It took overtime, but the Orono Red Riots survived an upset attempt by No. 11 Piscataquis, winning 45-40. Dexter (19-0) held off No. 7 Sumner of East Sullivan (12-8) 38-33 in the morning’s second game.

“What can you say, when you haven’t been here as long as we had, and you face a team like Orono who’s here every year and push them to the limit,” Piscataquis coach Brian Gaw said of his team’s performance.

Orono worked from the start of the game to get the ball into senior Jillian Woodward, daughter of University of Maine men’s basketball coach Ted Woodward. The 6-foot center was the catalyst for the Red Riots, scoring 12 of Orono’s 22 first-half points. Woodward finished with 16 points.

“[Woodward’s] a tough cover,” Gaw said. “They do a good job to get her a little space to catch the ball and she can finish over either shoulder.”

Piscataquis kept the game close in the first half by forcing turnovers and spreading the scoring out. Sophomore guard Alex Speed was able to penetrate into the paint, scoring six first-half points to lead the Pirates. Speed finished with a team-high 16 points.

The Red Riots expanded their lead in the third quarter, behind junior guard Elea Kass’ 10 third-quarter points, including two 3-pointers. Kass finished with 15 points.

A fourth-quarter comeback by Piscataquis forced the game into overtime, as the Pirates allowed just four fourth-quarter points.

“We started making a few shots, started making a couple shots,” Gaw said. “The kids fought hard and battled back.”

However, another 3-pointer by Kass in overtime and a couple layups by Woodward sealed the deal, as Orono moved on to the semifinals.

“We’ve been there before,” Orono coach Jessica Witham said about the overtime. “It’s just a clean slate. You just need to worry about the four minutes. Ellie Kass hadn’t really made an outside shot the whole game and in the overtime she makes that big three and set the tone for us.”

In the morning’s second game, Sumner jumped out to an early lead over No. 2 Dexter, thanks to six early points from forward Jordan Merchant.

Dexter fired back in the second quarter, doubling Sumner’s total, 12-6 to take a 19-15 lead into the half. Senior guard Lauren Crane had eight points in the first half, including two 3-pointers.

A tight third quarter kept the game close and Sumner was able to narrow the deficit in the final minutes, but a crucial 3-pointer by Crane gave Dexter a five-point lead. A last-second 3-pointer by Sumner’s Savana Turner made the final score a two-point game, 38-36.

“We tried to share the ball offensively, but we didn’t shoot great,” Dexter coach Jody Grant said. “Lauren’s 3 that she hit late in the quarter gave us a little separation.”

Dexter’s Michaela White led all scorers with 13 points, while Merchant led Sumner with 12 points.

Dexter and Orono will face off Friday at 2:05 p.m. in the Auditorium for a chance to go to Saturday night’s Eastern Maine final.

“We’re going to enjoy this [win],” Grant said. “We’ve played [Orono] a couple times and we’ll have to rebound a lot better than we did today.”

“We’ve played them a couple times before,” Witham said of Dexter. “We’ve had a couple tight games with them.”

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