AUGUSTA — When Zach Blodgett scored after grabbing an offensive rebound 13 seconds into Bangor’s Eastern Maine Class A boys basketball quarterfinal against Brunswick on Saturday night, it was a sign of things to come.
The top-ranked Rams scored six of their first seven baskets in the game on such second-chance opportunities, and went on to cruise to a 67-38 victory over the eighth-ranked Dragons at the Augusta Civic Center.
“We crashed the boards really hard, and that was a key to our success tonight,” said senior center Josiah Hartley, who paced coach Roger Reed’s Bangor club with 14 points and eight rebounds.
Blodgett also scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field before leaving the game with a left ankle injury with 7:22 left in the third quarter, while senior guard Tristan Thomas added nine points and junior forward Patrick Stewart had eight points and six rebounds as Bangor earned its 18th consecutive victory.
“Our team meshed really well tonight,” said Hartley. “You always have a few things to work on, but we’re coming.”
The Rams will face No. 4 Mt. Blue of Farmington (15-4) in an 8:30 p.m. semifinal Wednesday. Mt. Blue defeated No. 5 Lawrence of Fairfield 47-36 in its quarterfinal.
Bangor has defeated Mt. Blue twice this season, 49-35 at Farmington on Jan. 11 and 63-47 at home on Feb. 8.
Brunswick, which got 15 points from Mitchell Black and 11 from Garrett Erb, finished with a 9-10 record.
“What we wanted to take out of this game with our young team was that [Bangor] was a team we wanted to look in the mirror and emulate,” said Brunswick coach Todd Hanson, whose roster included just one senior. “We want to get to where they are at some point, because they did some things very, very well at both ends of the floor.”
Bangor used its early offensive rebounding might to build a 10-0 lead before Brunswick got 3-pointers by Alex Ouellette and Erb to climb to within 12-8 midway through the opening quarter.
Bangor’s lead was 17-11 at the end of the period, but the Rams then limited Brunswick to four points during the second quarter while forcing six Dragons turnovers, and they scored the final 10 points of the first half for a 32-15 lead.
Blodgett scored six points and Hartley and Stewart adding one basket each during that run as the Rams’ frontcourt trio overwhelmed Brunswick’s interior defense.
Brunswick drew no closer than 17 points after intermission as 11 different Bangor players joined the scoring column.
“I would rate it a seven [on a scale of one to 10],” said Bangor senior point guard Luke Hetterman. “We played pretty well tonight, but there’s always room to get better.”