BANGOR, Maine — The Presque Isle High School girls basketball team is headed back to the Eastern Maine Class B championship for the third consecutive season, but it didn’t come easy.
The No. 5 Foxcroft Academy Ponies (13-8) stuck with the Wildcats until the final buzzer, but in the end could not come up with enough buckets to upset the top seed and fell 53-49 in the regional semifinal at the Cross Insurance Center on Wednesday night.
Presque Isle will take on No. 3 Mount Desert Island in the regional final at 2:05 p.m. Saturday.
It was Presque Isle’s 64th straight victory.
Sophomore center Regan Nelson was a force on the inside for two-time defending state champ Presque Isle (20-0) with 14 points on 5-8 shooting and seven rebounds, including a few key putbacks in the final quarter to keep the Ponies at bay.
Presque Isle junior guard Hannah Graham led all scorers with 18 points on 8-of-20 shooting from the floor.
Foxcroft had trouble cutting into the Wildcats’ seven-point lead for most of the second until Brianna Skolfield’s putback cut it to five. That wouldn’t last long, as a Nelson layup and ensuing free throw put Presque Isle up 51-43 with four minutes to go in regulation.
Presque Isle’s free throw woes in the final minute gave the Ponies a chance to cut into a four-point lead, but it was not meant to be.
The Wildcats took a slim 26-25 lead into the locker room after trailing for most of the first half.
Foxcroft, led by junior forward Skolfield with 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting and nine rebounds, had its biggest lead of the game at 25-18 with just over four minutes remaining in the first half before turnover woes caught up to them. The Ponies mustered just four points in the second quarter.