BANGOR, Maine — The Hermon boys basketball team showed exactly why it is the top-ranked team in Class B North Saturday as the Hawks dominated No. 9 Belfast 67-40 in a Class B North quarterfinal.
The Hawks (19-0) scored early and often, including a number of spectacular dunks, en route to the quarterfinal victory.
Hermon advances to Wednesday’s 8:35 p.m. semifinal against No. 4 Winslow, which defeated No. 5 Oceanside 39-38 earlier in the afternoon.
Belfast ends its season with a 9-11 record.
The Hawks used a balanced scoring attack, combined with exceptional free-throw shooting, to wear down Belfast. Hermon converted 16 of 20 free throws (80 percent), compared to the Lions’ 8-of-14 (57 percent) effort from the foul line.
Belfast led just once in Saturday’s game, when Stanley Sturgis drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner at the 6:20 mark to give the Lions a 3-1 advantage. The Hawks took over the lead with just under four minutes to go in the quarter as Garrett Trask converted a jump shot to put Hermon up 7-6.
It was then time for Keenan Marseille to shine as he slammed down three impressive dunks in the final two minutes to give Hermon a 17-6 lead at the end of the quarter. Belfast never recovered.
“We wanted to make sure we made good shots on the offensive end,” Hermon coach Mark Reed said. “We did have some opportunities in transition that lead to some plays down the floor that I am sure the crowd finds exciting. But the reality is, they (dunks) are just two points.”
Senior Jacob Godfrey paced Hermon with 15 points, while Isaac Varney added 12 and Cody Hawes and Marseille each had 10.
“Our goal going in was to make them (Hermon) shoot outside and take away the middle,” Belfast coach Marty Messer said. “But even as we focused on that, they still went inside a lot and rebounded. That ultimately killed us.”
Messer said the Lions talked about how the team would handle the high-flying acrobatics of Hermon’s athletes, but were not able to prevent the flashy plays from happening.
“We didn’t want dunks, just for the momentum,” he said. “But if they do (happen), you have to be strong and come out (afterwards) like it is a 0-0 game.”
Senior Stanley Sturgis paced Belfast with 13 points, including three 3-pointers. He was the only player to score in double figures.