BANGOR, Maine — Uncertainty was the name of the game during Friday night’s Class B North girls basketball quarterfinal between John Bapst and Waterville.
Despite the back-and-forth, up-and-down, somewhat scattered nature of the contest, which featured two teams that love to press and run, the Crusaders were able to find enough moments of calm to make enough plays to win.
Spearheaded by a group of five seniors, No. 2 John Bapst relied on its experience — especially in close games — to grind out a 52-48 victory at the Cross Insurance Center,
Chris Woodside’s 15-4 Crusaders advance to face No. Winslow (15-5) in next Wednesday’s 2:05 p.m. quarterfinal in Bangor.
Abbey Legasse led John Bapst with 16 points, six of which came in the fourth quarter. Crystal Bell tallied 11 points and 12 rebounds and blocked three shots, while Tia Zephir contributed 10 points and Grace Philippon added eight points and eight rebounds.
The youthful Purple Panthers of coach Robert Rodrigue received 13 points and six rebounds from sophomore Sadie Garling and 12 points, including 10 in the second half, from freshman Paige St. Pierre.
Both teams’ preference for full-court pressure and fast-paced, attacking offense resulted in numerous turnovers. The squads combined for 58 turnovers, including 30 by John Bapst. But it didn’t seem to faze the Crusaders.
“I think one of the big things for us is we’ve been in a lot of close games this year — sometimes closer than probably some people think we should have been in,” Woodside said. “But I think it’s really helped galvanize us.”
So even after Waterville (13-6) erased most of a 14-point deficit with a 10-0 burst to end the third quarter, and got within one (49-48) on two Paige St. Pierre free throws with 3:31 left in regulation, John Bapst remained on task.
“I was able to look at them in the eyes and say ‘smile, we’ve been here,’” Woodside said.
Waterville scored five unanswered points to get within a point with 3:31 remaining, but would not score again. Legasse made two free throws, then Zephir made one to make it 52-48 with 1:44 to play as John Bapst held on.
The Panthers committed 28 turnovers.
“The five of them (the seniors) have been on varsity since they were freshmen and this was the first time they’ve made it past the quarterfinals, so I think they’re pretty excited.”
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