AUGUSTA, Maine — The vast majority of the Hampden Academy boys basketball team learned the hard way last year about the perils a high tournament seed faces.
Presented a second chance Saturday night, the Broncos used defense to maintain their claim to the No. 1 seed in Class A North.
Johnny Wolfington scored 15 points and Hampden limited Brewer to just 38 field-goal attempts in 32 minutes Saturday night to defeat the stubborn Witches 48-40 in a regional quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center.
“Even though we didn’t have our offense we were able to stay composed and play hard on defense and that’s what helped us get the win,” said senior Wolfington, who in 2017 was part of a second-seeded Hampden squad that was upset by No. 7 Cony of Augusta in the quarters.
Hampden (18-1) plays No. 4 Cony (14-5) in a rematch of that game in Wednesday night’s semifinals, as Cony topped No. 5 Camden Hills of Rockport 61-57 in its quarterfinal.
Eighth-seeded Brewer ends its season at 7-12.
Brewer, which yielded 63 and 70 points, respectively, in its two regular-season losses to Hampden, stayed close for most of the night thanks to patient offense and a defense focused on double-teaming Broncos’ senior center Ian McIntyre. The strategy worked particularly well in the first half when HA made just two of 11 3-point tries.
That left open space for Wolfington, who shot 4 of 7 from 3-point land overall, 3 of 5 after intermission as Hampden gradually extended its lead.
“They pretty much ran two guys at Ian and didn’t guard Johnny, and we talked at halftime that Johnny had to be more assertive,” said Hampden coach Russ Bartlett. “I thought in the second half he played like a senior leader and lugged us when we needed someone to score.”
Center Jaycob Miller scored twice in the opening moments of the second half to give Brewer a 22-20 lead, but Wolfington made two from long range and sophomore guard Bryce Lausier added a third 3-pointer as Hampden outscored the Witches 11-1 to take a 31-23 lead into the fourth quarter.
That run became 15-1 as reserve guard Ross Webb opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and Mikey Ray added a free throw to make it 35-23.
A 3-pointer by Brewer’s Max Perkins reduced the deficit to single digits, and three free throws by Kobe Rogerson after he was fouled on a 3-point try drew the Witches within 41-34 with 3:35 left, but McIntyre scored off a Wolfington assist and fed Kory Winch for a layup as Hampden stretched its lead back to 11 entering the final two minutes of play.
McIntyre finished with 14 points and nine rebounds while Lausier scored 10 points, Tommy Raye grabbed seven rebounds and Winch had five rebounds and four assists.
Junior Brandon Glidden led Brewer with 14 points, making three of his four 3-pointers during the first half.