BANGOR, Maine — Trevor Lyford was a key member of Penquis Valley’s 2013 Class C state championship basketball team.
On Tuesday night, the dynamic senior guard guided an unproven supporting cast to a thrilling quarterfinal win at the Cross Insurance Center.
Lyford scored 35 points, including a tying 3-pointer to end the first overtime and eight points in the second extra period, lifting No. 5 Penquis to a 66-62 victory over No. 4 Washington Academy of East Machias.
“We’re the defending state champions, but we want to blaze our own path,” Lyford said. “These guys came out here without any experience on a floor like this and really came up big as far as rebounding and defense, and I’m really proud of them.
Coach Jason Mills’ 13-6 Patriots advance to Friday’s 3:35 p.m. semifinal against No. 1 Houlton, a 51-35 winner over No. 9 Bucksport in Tuesday’s late game.
Lyford went 14-for-15 from the foul line, including 10-for-10 in the overtimes.
“He’s a special player and all the accolades he’s got this season, he really deserves,” Mills said.
Penquis made 21 of 23 foul shots, while Washington Academy (12-7) was 18-for-24.
Tuesday’s contest pitted a tall Washington Academy ballclub against the smaller Patriots. Penquis was content to control the tempo, patiently working through its half-court sets.
“We knew if they got 70 [points] and above, they were 7-1 in those games during the season,” Mills said of the Raiders.
“We tried to stay patient, but that’s just a good [WA] team,” he added.
Penquis got the ball to Lyford when possible and received contributions across the board from Noah Allen, Colton Larrabee and Justin Larry, who scored 7 points apiece, and Clayton Tarnozy (6).
Gage Feeney sparked the Raiders with 23 points and Austin Seavey (7 rebounds) tossed in 19, while Dustin Emery (7 rebounds) and Colin Pineo posted six points each.
WA outrebounded Penquis 35-22 but committed 20 turnovers to only eight for the Patriots.
The Raiders trailed by four late in regulation, but Feeney and Pineo each made two free throws to help WA overcome what had been a five-point deficit.
In the first overtime, Dustin Emery’s fast-break layup with 48 seconds left put WA ahead 55-51. However, Lyford scored on a drive to the hoop, then answered a foul shot by the Raiders’ Fred MacLean by draining a deep 3-pointer from the top of the key with five seconds left to tie it.
In the second OT, two Emery free throws gave the Raiders a 61-60 lead with 1:49 left. Penquis missed at the other end, but Lyford made a steal, was fouled and sank both shots to put the Patriots ahead 62-61 with 36.4 left.
Giavani Sibert then forced a tie-up that gave Penquis the ball. WA fouled Lyford, who sandwiched four free throws around a missed 3 by WA to seal the win.
In the second game, Kyle Bouchard showed his versatility as Houlton gradually pulled away from stubborn Bucksport.
The junior forward finished with 15 points, 16 rebounds, six assists and two blocks to lead the unbeaten Shiretowners to their 19th victory of the season.
“We didn’t play the way we wanted to,” said Bouchard. “We didn’t get out in transition the way we wanted to, but part of the reason for that is that they’re real physical and athletic and they got back.”
Bouchard had 11 points and nine rebounds at intermission, but the underdog Golden Bucks were within 24-14 at the break thanks to a solid defense that limited Houlton to one shot on most trips down the court.
Bucksport had an 18-13 advantage on the backboards through two quarters, with center Riley Macleod pulling down eight boards for coach Josh Tripp’s club.
Yet Houlton never trailed after Bouchard opened the game with a low-post basket and a pull-up 3-pointer after a Bucksport turnover to give the Shiretowners a quick 5-0 lead.
That cushion grew to 16-9 by the end of the opening period, and another inside basket by Bouchard off one of Nick Guiod’s four first-half assists and two subsequent free throws by the junior forward stretched the margin to 20-9.
That advantage maxed out at 22-10 on two Bouchard free throws with 4:16 left in the half.
Asher Bowden scored seven points, all in the first quarter, to provide half of the first-half offense for Bucksport, which was limited to a 4-of-24 effort from the field by Houlton’s defense.
Bouchard turned playmaker after intermission, recording five assists during the first 4½ minutes of the third quarter as Houlton stretched its lead to 36-18 on back-to-back layups by Isaac Cone and Elyjah Crockett.
“They were doubling a lot, I had the ball in my hands a lot, and that created openings for my teammates and they caught, finished and capitalized,” said Bouchard.
Christian Crane also finished with 15 points for Houlton while Crockett scored eight.
Josh Gray led 10-10 Bucksport with 16 points, while Macleod grabbed 11 rebounds.