BANGOR, Maine — Machias boys basketball coach James Getchell knew seventh-ranked Bangor Christian was a far better team than its 8-10 record indicated.
The Patriots’ play in Saturday night’s Class D North quarterfinal with the second-ranked Bulldogs supported Getchell’s assertion.
In spite of a subpar shooting effort, the No. 2 Bulldogs warded off the pesky No. 7 Patriots and posted a hard-fought 49-44 victory at the Cross Insurance Center.
The 18-1 Bulldogs earned a date with defending regional champion Easton in a 2:05 p.m. Thursday semifinal while Bangor Christian concludes the season 8-11.
The two teams played twice in the regular season with the Bulldogs winning both matchups.
The Bulldogs weathered a Patriots’ storm early, as Bangor Christian’s perimeter play enabled it to build an 18-7 lead early in the second quarter.
But Machias put the clamps down defensively and started using its size to its advantage, holding BC to no field goals over the final 6:54 of the opening half in taking a 26-20 lead.
Mark Anthony jumpstarted that surge with a perimeter shot and a 12-footer.
“Mark hit some big shots and that got us really into it,” said Bulldogs junior center Jacob Godfrey, who posted 18 points and 11 rebounds. “We started playing together as a team.”
Bangor Christian did close to within a possession on a few occasions in the second half, but could not get any equalizing baskets.
A pair of fourth-quarter perimeter buckets from the Bulldogs’ Camon Johnson (8 points, 7 in the fourth) helped keep BC at bay.
“Camon played probably his best basketball game of the year and probably his best high school game,” said Getchell.
James Mersereau was the other Bulldog in double figures with 14 points. Austin Keib scored 11 points and Jonathan Cormier netted 10 to lead Bangor Christian.
Even though coach Kevin Reed’s Patriots were undersized and lacked depth, they possessed the scrappiness and fight to stay with a talented Bulldogs club.
“If you look at their strength of schedule, they’ve probably got the toughest schedule in Class D,” said Getchell, referring to BC’s Class C-heavy regular-season slate.
Machias did have an off shooting night (18-for-51 from the floor).
“We lost one of our scrimmages last week [due to weather],” Getchell said, “we haven’t played a game in a week. We got down early and they responded and held on at the end. If you’re going to win a title you’ve got to have a little bit of luck at times. This is Bangor basketball.”
Reed praised his team’s tenacity.
“These guys don’t know what quit means,” Reed said. “They were all over the court.”
Machias forced 13 turnovers.