BANGOR, Maine — Tyler Thayer and the Hermon Hawks showed Saturday afternoon that the Cross Insurance Center is the perfect venue for some Eastern Maine basketball tournament magic.
The senior guard scored 18 points in the fourth quarter, then tallied nine in overtime to spark the No. 8 Hawks to a 68-63 Class B boys upset of No. 1 Oceanside of Rockland/Thomaston.
“It’s a lot of pressure on you, but I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Thayer said. “I thought the team handled it very well and with this atmosphere, it was just fun to play in.”
Coach Mark Reed’s Hawks (12-8) will face No. 4 Caribou, a 63-61 winner over Winslow in Saturday’s early game, in Wednesday’s 3:35 p.m. semifinal.
Hermon built an early 11-point lead, overcame turnover difficulties against the Windjammers’ 2-2-1 full-court press, then wiped out a seven-point deficit in the final 99 seconds.
Thayer was the catalyst, shooting 11-for-17 despite tight defense. He also sank 17 of 25 foul shots, going 13-for-19 in the fourth quarter and OT.
“It’s pretty apparent that, in a lot of ways, he’s our engine,” Reed said. “He just does so many things for us that probably don’t show up in the book just because of the type of competitor he is.”
Hermon also received strong contributions from Joe Plummer (9 points, game-high 12 rebounds), Ryan Kelly (9 points, 5 rebounds), T.J. Verrill (6 points), Tyler Beaton and Donte Bennett.
David Gould (20 points) slashed his way to 12 fourth-quarter points as Oceanside built a 50-43 lead with 1:39 to play. Thayer and the Hawks were forced to foul, but the Windjammers did not capitalize.
Thayer made a 3, then the ’Jammers went 1-for-3 at the foul line. He followed with a 14-footer and sank a free throw to cut the deficit to 50-49 with 51.8 seconds left.
Judge (11 points, 5 rebounds) and Stone-Patterson (game-best 25 points) then sandwiched a foul shot each around Thayer’s 18-footer and Hermon tied it on two Thayer free throws with 10.1 to play.
Stone-Patterson’s 18-footer at the buzzer was off the mark, forcing overtime.
The ’Jammers took the lead, but two Kelly free throws got Hermon within 58-57, then Bennett came up with a clutch steal that led to Verrill’s rebound basket to put the Hawks in front to stay.
Bennett’s putback made it a three-point game and Stone-Patterson countered with two foul shots, but Thayer went 7-for-10 from the line down the stretch.
“Our team really played well tonight,” Reed said. “We had a lot of big plays made by other kids in the game that I really thought stood out.”
In the first game, when Caribou sophomore point guard Donovan Savage stepped to the foul line with 4.9 seconds left in a tie game against Winslow, he said he tried to block out the free throw he had missed 19 seconds earlier.
“I had to get that miss out of my head and remember all the makes I had from the free throw line during the season,” said Savage, who calmly sank both to give the Vikings a 63-61 triumph.
“He has missed only three or four all year. He’s over a 92 percent free throw shooter,” said Caribou coach Chris Casavant.
No. 4 Caribou improved to 16-4 while No. 5 Winslow finished at 16-4.
Savage’s 3-pointer from the corner off brother Dayne’s pass as time elapsed gave Caribou a 33-28 halftime lead representing the largest lead for either team. But Winslow tied it up 55 seconds into the third quarter and the game see-sawed back and forth.
Trevor Lovely nailed two 3-pointers, sandwiching a Dayne Savage runner, to give the Black Raiders a 57-53 lead with five minutes left in regulation.
But Donovan fed his junior brother for a 3 only 42 seconds later. He was fouled and sank the free throw to tie it up.
“I needed to step up and make a big play and I was able to do it,” said Dayne Savage.
Dayne Savage (game-high 22 points) passed to Derek Richardson underneath to break the tie and Cody Herbert’s reverse layup off a Donovan Savage bounce pass with 1:15 left made it 61-57.
But the resilient Raiders rallied when 6-foot-6 junior Justin Martin converted a Lovely miss underneath and then threaded the needle to Lovely for a game-tying layup with 10 seconds left.
“I expected it to be an up-and-down game. They’re a good team. They played hard, we played hard, we just fell short,” said Lovely.
Donovan Savage and Matthew Milliard each had 12 points and two assists. Milliard had four rebounds as did Herbert, who also had nine points.
Lovely scored 20 points for Winslow with six 3-pointers. Martin had 13 points, nine rebounds and two assists and Nason Lanphier had 12 points and seven assists.