BANGOR, Maine — It took the George Stevens Academy boys basketball team just four seconds to turn tourney time into show time Tuesday night.
Senior forward Jarrod Chase scored on a dunk off the game’s opening tip, and the top-ranked Eagles from Blue Hill went on to look all the part of a defending state champion by topping No. 8 Woodland 72-31 in a Class C North quarterfinal at the Cross Insurance Center.
“I thought we came out and proved to everyone that we were the No. 1 team in Class C and deserved to be here,” said GSA junior center Max Mattson, who contributed a near triple-double with 15 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocked shots to the victory.
Coach Dwayne Carter’s GSA club (19-0) faces No. 5 Dexter in Friday afternoon’s semifinals. The Tigers defeated No. 4 Lee Academy 58-45 earlier in the evening.
Woodland concluded its season with a 10-8 record.
Chase’s instant firework — off a lob pass from guard Taylor Schildroth — was just the start of things for George Stevens, who scored the game’s first 19 points before Sabre Lee Phelps finally scored for Woodland with 2:09 left in the opening period.
But the early dunk wasn’t totally spontaneous.
“It started around noon when I had Jarrod and Taylor and Stefan (Simmons) over for a little lunch,” said Mattson, who directed the opening tip to Schildroth.
“We were like, ‘Wouldn’t it be sweet if we did this play!’ and so we drew up that play and we ran it and it worked to perfection.”
And after Woodland broke through offensively, Schildroth immediately countered with a 28-foot 3-pointer from the America East logo deep on the right side of the court, and when Mattson then scored off an assist from Schildroth the GSA lead was 24-2 at the end of the first quarter.
“You’re always a little tentative about things with the first game because we’ve watched a lot of 1-8 matchups where the 1 should have lost,” said Carter. “Everyone’s always been bringing their best game to us, but we’ve been fortunate enough to be comfortable knowing that’s going to happen.
“They’ve had a lot of experience and they’re pretty relaxed that way, you just hope they come out ready to play and not take things for granted.”
Just as impressive as GSA’s early offense was the Eagles’ defense, which limited Woodland to two field goals over the game’s first 11 minutes.
“Right off I thought our defense was really good,” said Carter. “We switched things up a lot and it really threw them off and we didn’t allow them to get open looks.
“We want to pride ourselves in playing really good defense on every possession because that just turns into offense for us.”
Schildroth finished with 12 points for George Stevens while Simmons scored 11, Chase had nine and freshman Caden Mattson added eight.
Phelps paced Woodland with eight points.