BANGOR, Maine — The fourth-seeded Orono High School boys basketball team took full advantage of its superior experience and size Wednesday afternoon.
Senior forward Jackson Coutts scored 10 points in the third quarter to spark a 13-3 run that erased a five-point deficit and sent the Red Riots to a 52-41 triumph over top seed Hermon in their Class B North semifinal at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Orono (17-3) advanced to the regional final for the second straight year and will meet No. 2 Mount Desert Island (17-3) in Saturday’s 3:35 p.m. regional championship game at the Cross Insurance Center.
Orono outrebounded the Hawks 11-1 in the third quarter and 17-4 in the second half, which resulted in several second-chance points and 21 free throws of which the Riots connected on 14.
Hermon (17-3) went 0-for-2 from the foul line in the second half and got outscored 17-0 from the foul line in the game.
Orono started four seniors while Hermon didn’t have one in its starting lineup. All five Orono starters were at least 6-foot-2, while only one Hermon starter stood over 6-foot-1 — standout 6-foot-3 freshman Isaac Varney.
“We pride ourselves on how much time we spend in the weight room. That helps us bang down low and grab rebounds for second and third chance opportunities. And I thought our experience did show a little bit,” said senior forward Keenan Collett, who scored 10 points and was one of four Red Riots in double figures.
“We’re big. That’s one thing we definitely have. And we’re aggressive,” said senior forward Jake Koffman, who posted 15 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.
Coutts finished with 14 points and six rebounds and Nate Desisto had 10 points and six rebounds.
Varney had 11 points, four rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots for Hermon. Kent Johnson had 11 points off the bench and Jordan Bishop had six points. Keenan Marseille had four points and a team-high six rebounds.
Hermon was leading 25-20 in the third period when the Riots went on an 11-0 run to take a lead they would never relinquish.
Coutts had eight of those points, including a three-pointer and a traditional three-point play.
“My teammates did their jobs. They forced bad shots, and I just collected the rebounds,” Coutts said.
The Hawks stayed within striking distance in the fourth quarter, but Koffman drove the lane for a basket and Coutts sank two free throws with 2:06 left to build the lead to 44-34 and sew up the win.
“The game went exactly the way we didn’t want it to go,” Hermon coach Mark Reed said. “They did a great job getting the ball inside. It came down to rebounding and free throws. They must have made 20 free throws and we had two.
“I’m proud of my kids. They fought hard all year long. We got beat by a little more experienced team,” Reed said.