BANGOR, Maine — For about 12 minutes of the first half of Monday night’s Class D North girls basketball quarterfinal, the top-ranked Southern Aroostook Warriors were struggling to find any sort of offensive flow.
Part of that was thanks to a scrappy Katahdin of Stacyville club that looked better than its No. 9 seeding and its 7-12 record.
The Warriors of Dyer Brook were able to ward off the pesky Cougars with a 10-0 run to end the first half and took over from there en route to a 47-31 victory at the Cross Insurance Center.
Coach Cliff Urquhart’s club (18-1), which features eight freshmen and eighth-graders, meets No. 4 Easton in Thursday’s 8:35 p.m. semifinal.
Katahdin ends the season 7-13.
The Warriors struggled shooting in the opening half (6-23) but their aggressive play got the Cougars into foul trouble, and Southern Aroostook was able to convert 11 free throws.
“We played them in the regular season, we know how they are defensively,” said Warriors sophomore forward Kylie Vining, who tallied a game-high 13 points. “We knew taking it to them, they would probably foul. Knowing that, it helped us out a lot.”
Southern Aroostook didn’t lead until Madison Cummings’ layup 2:08 before halftime, and a Katelyn Slauenwhite 3-point play in the waning seconds allowed the charged-up Warriors to keep the momentum.
Katahdin led by as many as five in the opening half.
The Warriors held the Cougars to only four third-quarter points to open up a 34-21 lead, their biggest of the game.
Katahdin made one final charge in the fourth quarter, closing within eight at one point, but a Vining perimeter shot put the Warriors back up by double digits.
The Cougars’ foul trouble also started to show as the game wore on, and Southern Aroostook’s full-court pressure harassed Katahdin into 26 turnovers. Vining made four steals and Sydney Brewer and Kassidy Mathers swiped three each.
“They got in foul trouble and some of their better ball handlers were on the bench and we took advantage of that,” said Urquhart.
Southern Aroostook was also able to overcome an ankle injury to Kacy Daggett as Madison Cummings came off the bench to post six points and five rebounds.
“I thought Madison Cunnings did a good job of coming in and filling that role,” said Urquhart, who added it’s unclear how serious Daggett’s injury is, although he’s holding out hope she’ll be able to play Thursday.
The Warriors ended the night shooting just 13-for-56 (23 percent), but are confident it will be better against Easton.
“I would agree our shooting probably wasn’t the best tonight,” Vining said. “New gym, being in the [Cross Center] that’s a big thing.
Slauenwhite and Mathers each had eight points and Sydney Brewer posted seven for the Warriors. Natalie Rickards scored eight points and Georgia Landry netted seven for Katahdin.