BANGOR, Maine — A pair of savvy post players made sure their respective teams did not fall victim to this year’s string of upsets in the Eastern Maine basketball tournament on Saturday night.
Hunter Turner scored on an offensive rebound with 8.5 seconds to play, helping No. 2 Easton stay unbeaten with a hard-fought 41-37 Class D boys quarterfinal victory over No. 10 Bangor Christian at the Cross Insurance Center.
In the first game of the night session, Chris Hudson dominated the paint to power No. 3 Hodgdon to a 57-42 win over No. 11 Fort Fairfield. That sets up Thursday’s 3:35 p.m. semifinal between the Bears and the Hawks.
Saturday’s nightcap was a grinder and it was Easton (20-0) that prevailed. Coach Dillon Kingsbury’s team built an eight-point, fourth-quarter lead, then overcame foul trouble and a resilient Bangor Christian squad.
Turner, a rugged senior center, scored five of his game-high 15 points and snatched three of his eight rebounds in the fourth quarter to help the Bears hold on.
“He’s a tremendous worker,” Kingsbury said. “I know in the program it says 6-(foot)-4, but the only reason I list him at that is because that’s how (tall) he plays.”
Turner missed the front end of a bonus with 50.6 seconds left and Easton leading by two points, but he later gobbled up Nick Clark’s missed free throw and scored in the closing seconds to end the Patriots’ upset bid.
“We knew they would come out very physical, very tough,” Turner said of BC. “We knew it would be no easy game and they showed that late in the second half.”
Logan Halverson made three 3-pointers on his way to 13 points for the winners, who also received six points from Connor Burtt.
“Our discipline in the half-court was phenomenal,” Kingsbury said. “We got the looks we wanted to get and our execution with our delay at the end.”
However, the Bears went only 6-for-11 from the foul line, including 2-for-8 in the fourth quarter.
Seth Pearson and Cody Collins led a balanced effort for Bangor Christian (10-10) with 11 points each. Brian Boutot posted eight points and five rebounds and Ben Miller added four points and eight rebounds.
Coach Jon McAllian’s team grabbed a 25-23 rebounding edge and went 9-for-14 from the foul line.
Clark scored on a back-door cut to give Easton a 38-31 lead with 2:33 remaining, but the Patriots made a final charge. Pearson hit two foul shots and Boutot made one, before Collins drained a deep 3-pointer to cut the Bears’ lead to 39-37 with 1:05 left.
BC had two more possessions, but failed to connect on 3-pointers, and Turner’s putback ended it.
In the first game of the session, Fort Fairfield had no answer for the inside presence of Hudson.
The 6-5 junior poured in 13 of his game-leading 30 points in the fourth quarter and hauled down 23 rebounds to power Hodgdon to its third win of the season over the Tigers.
“I may be tall, but you’ve got to use what you’ve got to your advantage. You’ve got to fight hard every minute,” Hudson said.
Hudson went 12-for-20 from the field to help coach Rob Smith’s team shoot 42 percent overall. The Hawks also outrebounded the Tigers 47-23.
“We knew coming down here that the outside shots weren’t necessarily going to go, just with the bigger backdrop,” Smith said. “With Chris, we knew if we could go inside, we’d be fine.”
Tyler Sherman contributed eight points and seven rebounds for 17-3 Hodgdon.
Fort Fairfield (8-12) was paced by 13 points from Noah Bernard. Johnny Theriault provided nine points and four rebounds and Hunter Beaulieu grabbed six boards.
The Tigers shot 17-for-51 (33 percent) from the field.
Hodgdon turned a seven-point halftime lead into a 32-18 advantage during the first 4 ½ minutes of the third period.
Vargas opened the run with a runner from the lane and Devon Quint made two free throws before Theriault scored for Fort on a drive to the hoop. A Hudson foul shot and Deyrell Vargas’ runner from the baseline made it a 12-point game.
Theriault countered for the Tigers, converting a back-door shot off a Beaulieu pass, but Sherman converted a Hudson feed off a cut through the lane and added a fast-break layup to make it 32-18 with 3:30 to play in the period.
Fort Fairfield didn’t get closer than 10 after that.