May 29, 2020
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Dominant defense lifts Royals over Washburn

BANGOR, Maine — Two traditional schoolboy basketball powers known for high-powered offenses used defense and rebounding as the catalysts for victory in Eastern Maine Class D quarterfinals at the Bangor Auditorium on Monday afternoon.

Top-seeded Schenck of East Millinocket defeated No. 8 Greater Houlton Christian Academy 75-43, while No. 4 Jonesport-Beals pulled away from No. 5 Washburn 64-41.

Schenck (18-1) and Jonesport-Beals (16-3) will square off in a semifinal at 3:35 p.m. Thursday.

In the first game, Jonesport-Beals used a 1-3-1 zone defense to limit Washburn to five field goals and 15 total points in the second half.

“That was one of our big focuses at halftime, that we had to come out and crack down on defense,” said Jonesport-Beals sophomore guard Matt Alley. “That was what was going to win it for us, and in the second half we came out with more intensity and it helped a lot.”

That defense, as well as a dominance of the backboards, helped the Royals open the third quarter with an 10-0 run to build on a 26-25 halftime lead.

Freshman Garet Beal and sophomore Justin Alley each scored twice during the run, which gave the Royals a 36-25 lead before Washburn finally answered via a Connor Fitzpatrick layup with 4:11 left in the period.

Washburn was still within 51-38 midway through the fourth quarter before Jonesport-Beals went on a 10-1 run.

“In the second half I thought our defense changed the tempo of the game,” said Jonesport-Beals coach Vinnie MacLean. “They weren’t able to look inside because with our size there was nowhere to go. Then we got out and ran a little, and once we got running we were able to find people on the break.”

Jonesport Beals outrebounded Washburn 44-25, with 6-foot-6 Justin Alley grabbing 15 boards and 6-4 Garet Beal pulling down 10.

“The ball comes off the rim a little too far here and I wasn’t used to it,” said Justin Alley, “so I boxed out farther outside and got more rebounds doing that.”

Garet Beal scored a team-high 16 points, while Matt Alley added 14, Justin Alley scored 13 and Andrew Beal had 10.

Freshman Mitch Worcester led Washburn (12-7) with 17 points, 11 in the first half. Sophomore Jordan McLaughlin added 12 points while Connor Fitzpatrick grabbed 11 rebounds.

In the second game, Schenck similarly used a second-half surge to subdue a Greater Houlton Christian Academy team making its first tourney appearance.

The Wolverines outscored GHCA 37-17 over the final two periods.

“In the third quarter we started playing a little better defense,” said Schenck coach Steve LeVasseur, “and we started getting the ball down low where it needed to be.”

Junior point guard Brandon Theriault was the offensive architect, driving into the lane to score 18 points and dish out nine assists.

“We feel that Brandon can get past most people,” said Schenck senior forward Jared Waite, “and when he goes by it opens things up for everyone else because the defense collapses on him.”

Waite was among the beneficiaries of Theriault’s dribble penetration, and he also helped Schenck to a 45-21 dominance of the backboards while amassing game-high totals of 21 points and 10 rebounds.

Eric Theriault, Brandon’s twin brother, added to Schenck’s offensive balance with 11 points, while sixth man Terry McCafferty had 10 points and eight rebounds.

Junior Zach McLaughlin grabbed eight rebounds and limited GHCA 1,000-point scorer Chad Duff to nine points on 4 of 17 shooting from the field.

Ethan Holmes and Zach Staubel also scored nine points apiece for 14-6 GHCA.

Schenck shot 80 percent (24 of 30) from the free-throw line, with Brandon Theriault making all 10 of his tries and Waite hitting 9 of 10.

Schenck used a 9-0 run late in the second quarter to take a 38-26 halftime lead.

Waite later worked inside for two layups and a three-point play to ignite a 15-0 run late in the third quarter that extended the Wolverines’ cushion to 58-32.

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