BANGOR, Maine —- Hermon High School sophomore forward Lauren Plissey said she can’t remember ever grabbing 17 rebounds in a game during her high school career.
That’s how many she corralled Wednesday afternoon as she teamed up with junior forward Emi Higgins to control the paint and lead seventh seed Hermon to an impressive 59-45 victory over third seed Presque Isle in their Class B North semifinal.
Hermon, 13-8, will face top seed Houlton, 19-1, in Saturday’s 2:05 p.m. regional championship game.
The 5-foot-10 Plissey had 13 points and two assists to go with her 17 rebounds and 6-footer Higgins had a game-high 20 points to accompany her seven rebounds and three assists.
Plissey outrebounded the entire Presque Isle team in the second half (12-10).
The athletic Hawks wound up with a 36-21 rebounding edge.
“With Lauren’s length and positioning, she has a knack for being around the ball,” said Hermon coach Chris Cameron. “And to have Emi come on the way she has lately…. With the length those two have to control the paint and the boards, it gives us an incredible advantage.”
“We got pounded inside by Plissey and Higgins. They played great,” said Presque Isle coach Jeff Hudson. “And we didn’t shoot well. All the credit to Hermon. They’ve played real well the last few weeks and deserved to win.”
“They got a lot of easy baskets. We didn’t get help side,” said distraught PI senior tri-captain Taylor Williams. “They did a lot of things right and we didn’t.”
Presque Isle shot just 25.5 percent from the floor and 17.9 percent from beyond the three-point arc.
Allessa Oakes had 10 points for the winners, Bryanne Crouse contributed eight points, including a 7-for-8 showing from the foul line in the final two minutes, five rebounds and two assists and Alex Allain had four points and four assists.
Emily Wheaton had 15 points to lead 16-4 PI. Olivia Hudson and Williams had nine apiece and Emily Lagerstrom had eight points. Hudson, Lagerstrom and Williams had three rebounds each and Lagerstrom had three steals. Skylar Vogel had five rebounds and two blocked shots.
“We boxed out (well) and Nelson was out for most of the game. She’s a good rebounder,” said Plissey, referring to Presque Isle’s 6-1 senior center Regan Nelson, who got in early foul trouble and finished with two points and four rebounds.
The Wildcats cut a 10-point deficit to 41-39 on back-to-back three-pointers by Hudson and Lagerstrom with five minutes left.
But sophomore guard Allain hit an open three-pointer, her only basket, to give the Hawks a valuable five-point cushion.
“That stopped their momentum and started ours. It really helped,” said Higgins.
“My game was kind of off so they pulled back off me and I had a wide open shot,” said Allain.