BANGOR, Maine — Despite an early lead by Waterville, No. 2 seed Presque Isle was able to move on to the semifinals, beating the seventh-ranked Panthers 47-45 in an Eastern Maine Class B boys basketball quarterfinal at the Bangor Auditorium Saturday morning.
“We did what we wanted to do, we just wanted to get back here,” Presque Isle head coach Terry Cummings said. “After losing four starters [last year], I’m really proud of these guys, they stepped up.”
Waterville jumped out to the early lead after two quick buckets by guard Josh Gormley. A slow first quarter resulted in a 12-9 Waterville lead, as each team exchanged a number of free throws.
The second quarter stayed close, with Gormley supplying the majority of scoring for Waterville. The senior guard connected on two 3-pointers in the corner.
For Presque Isle, all but two first-half points came from its pair of big men, with 6-foot-8 Bradley Shields scoring 11 and Tyler Brooks adding seven, but Waterville still led 24-21.
“Shields didn’t touch the ball a lot, but when he did, good things happened,” Cummings said. “We worked with him a lot this year and he knew he’d have to step up.”
With Gormley in foul trouble to start the second half, Presque Isle took advantage, outscoring the Panthers 17-6 in the third, taking a 38-30 lead into the fourth quarter.
“That was a big difference, we got in foul trouble early and when you take those guys off the floor, their ability to make plays is apparent,” said Waterville head coach Jason Briggs. “We didn’t get into much of a flow.”
Waterville narrowed the deficit to two points with under a minute left, thanks to 11 fourth-quarter points by Gormley, but the Wildcats were able to hold out for the victory.
“We were lucky to build up that gap [in the third quarter],” Cummings said. “If [Waterville] would have made that last shot, it would have been over for us.”
Gormley led all scorers with 25 points, while Brooks finished with 18 points and Shields added 15.
Presque Isle will face third-seeded Mount Desert Island at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday.