BANGOR, Maine — Parise Rossignol’s Cross Insurance Center debut was one for the record books.
The Van Buren senior, who will play many more games on this floor for the University of Maine over the next four years, tied a 17-year-old Class D tournament record for points in a game with 43 in leading her second-ranked Crusaders to a 70-46 Class D quarterfinal victory over Limestone-Maine School of Science and Mathematics on Monday morning.
Rossignol matched the standard Jonesport-Beals’ Tricia Carver established in 1997.
The 16-4 Crusaders are in a Thursday semifinal date with No. 3 Fort Fairfield, who earned a thrilling come-from-behind 59-54 overtime victory over No. 6 Penobscot Valley of Howland in the first game of the day.
The 15-5 Tigers won both regular-season matchups. PVHS and Limestone finish their seasons 14-6 and 16-4, respectively.
In the first game, the Howlers’ aggressive attack got the Tigers in foul trouble early, as Penobscot Valley raced out to a 23-9 lead midway through the second quarter.
But coach Larry Gardner’s club slowly clawed back, with sophomore guard Taylor Churchill canning three 3-pointers in a span of just over a minute to help the Tigers get within five by halftime.
That gave Fort Fairfield some confidence despite a shaky first half, most of which 6-foot-1 center Whitney McNamee spent on the bench with two fouls, allowing the Howlers’ Molly McGinn and Samantha Ireland to attack the rim.
“I told them we’ve played as bad as we’ve played all season and we’re only down 5,” Gardner said. “You’ve got to keep battling.”
The Howlers kept fighting themselves, extending their lead back to 11 on a perimeter shot by Amy Hallett, but the Tigers again slowly clawed back, with Nicole Giberson sending it to overtime on a follow-up basket in the final seconds of regulation.
“We’re not a team that’s going to give up and they didn’t today,” said Gardner.
The Howlers suffered a blow in the fourth quarter when point guard Hallett picked up her fifth foul, and they subsequently had trouble with Fort Fairfield’s ball pressure.
“That was the dagger in the heart,” PVHS coach Joe Cyr said. “It’s just like not having [Tom] Brady in the football game. You’ve got to have your quarterback.”
The deeper Tigers wore down the Howlers in overtime, holding them without a field goal and forcing two turnovers in the final 25 seconds to ice the game.
“I think they were getting tired,” Gardner said. “We were tired too, but you can’t get tired in this game. It’s your last one, maybe, if you don’t win.”
Churchill had 20 points to lead the Tigers while Jellison had 15. Ireland finished with 20 and McGinn 17 for PVHS.
In the second game, Van Buren roared out of the gate to an 18-0 lead, with Rossignol contributing nine points and Emily Dumond five, putting the Crusaders in cruise control before the Eagles could even settle in.
The two teams split during the regular season, and Van Buren coach Matt Rossignol, Parise’s father, wasn’t taking Limestone lightly.
“When do you play a 16-3 seven seed?” Rossignol said. “We knew we’d have our hands full.
Parise Rossignol, a 2,000-point scorer, showed why she will play for UMaine coach Richard Barron next year, torching the Eagles with her sound court vision, deadly penetration skills and ability to create for her teammates.
Not bad for a player who was competing while under the weather.
“Once I step on the court the adrenaline takes over,” Parise Rossignol said.
The Crusaders led 24-7 after the first quarter and by as many as 31 in the first half, but the Eagles kept battling, holding Van Buren without a field goal over the first 5½ minutes of the third.
“There was foul trouble we had to manage with the Bouchard girl and Parise,” said coach Rossignol. “We survived it.”
Limestone got as close as 17 but a follow-up basket by Felisha Bouchard stopped the bleeding. Defensively, the Crusaders held LCS’ Chelsey Pelkey to just three points.
“They’re an awesome team,” Parise Rossignol said. “We knew we had to contain Pelkey who’s probably their best player. Our defensive intensity was really good.”
Rossignol tied Carver’s single-game scoring record with a fourth-quarter free throw. Bouchard was the other Crusader in double figures with 13 points.
Melissa Cantafio led Limestone with 15 points while Alexis Bell added 12.
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Megan Jellison made the shot that sent the game into overtime in the final seconds of regulation. Nicole Giberson made the shot.