BANGOR, Maine — Junior guard Jackson Mathers poured in 27 points and the third-seeded Southern Aroostook High School Warriors used an 11-2 run to build a 43-31 lead to begin the second half en route to a 67-59 victory over second seed Machias in their Class D North semifinal Thursday night at the Cross Insurance Center.
In improving to 16-4 and advancing to Saturday’s 10:45 a.m. final against No. 1 Easton, the Warriors overcame a tremendous 27-point, 26-rebound performance by Machias sophomore center Jacob Godfrey.
Machias wound up 17-3.
In a battle of teams without a senior on their rosters, Southern Aroostook’s outside shooting and press were able to offset Machias’ size advantage.
The Warriors had a three-point halftime lead but quickly extended the lead with their flurry at the start of the second half.
Luis Morales fed Robert Lillis for a 3-pointer from the top of the key and Lillis then turned provider as he passed to Riley Robinson for a four-footer under the basket.
After Godfrey scored off an offensive rebound, Morales passed to Tyler Batchelder for a layup and Mathers stole the ball near halfcourt and took a few steps before burying a 3-pointer and expanding the lead to 42-31.
Batchelder’s free throw capped the run.
The Bulldogs closed to nine on two occasions in the third and fourth quarters but Mathers had five points in an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter that made it 63-46 and all but sewed up the win.
“They kept giving me open lanes, and I took advantage,” said Mathers who added that they had to press Machias to negate its size advantage.
“We couldn’t play them straight up. We took away their high-low game,” said Mathers, who also had six steals and five rebounds.
The Machias guards struggled shooting from the outside.
Nolan Altvater had 11 points and four rebounds for the winners. Batchelder finished with 10 points, four rebounds and two steals, and Morales had nine points, six rebounds and two steals.
James Mesereau had 11 points and eight rebounds for Machias to complement Godfrey and Jordan Grant wound up with eight points. Mark Anthony had six points and six rebounds.
The Warriors took a 32-29 lead into the intermission thanks to its seven 3-pointers and balanced scoring.
Morales had nine first-half points, all on 3-pointers, while Mathers had eight points and Altvater netted seven.
The taller Bulldogs controlled the boards with Godfrey hauling down 16 rebounds to go with his 14 points.
Mesereau had nine points and Anthony had six. Mesereau also grabbed seven rebounds.