AUGUSTA, Maine — The final days leading up to tournament time were both satisfying and challenging for the Brewer High School boys basketball team.
Satisfaction came in several late-season victories that rallied the Witches from the outside looking in to the No. 6 seed in Class A North.
Challenge came from regrouping after three upperclassmen — including one starter — opted to leave the team.
Those players who remained rose to that challenge Saturday, with sophomore forward Dylan Huff scoring 21 points and junior forward Trevor Pearson adding 15 as Brewer upset No. 3 Mt. Blue of Farmington 71-60 in a regional quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center.
“These guys who are still with the team came to play basketball,” said Brewer coach Ben Goodwin. “They set a goal to get to the tournament and they set a goal to win today and they came out and played.
“We talked at the beginning of the week about setting goals in life and that there are going to be bumps and bruises along the way. For these guys on this team to stay with it and get to where we’re at today, I’m proud of them.”
Brewer, which defeated Mt. Blue 54-31 on the final day of the regular season to qualify for postseason play, will take a 10-9 record into Wednesday’s semifinals against No. 7 Skowhegan, a 68-63 winner over No. 2 Hampden Academy.
Freshman guard Aaron Newcomb chipped in with 14 points — including a 6-of-6 effort from the free-throw line during the fourth quarter — and teamed with classmate Colby Smith to direct a Brewer offense that committed just nine turnovers.
“I think it shows the maturity of those two guards as freshmen,” Goodwin said. “But I also give a lot of credit to the guys in practice, the guys who don’t get much playing time but who beat the heck out of those guys in practice so they’re used to guys getting after them.”
Garrett Reynolds led 11-8 Mt. Blue with 18 points and James Anderson added 13.
Huff scored 15 points — including three of Brewer’s six 3-pointers in the first half — as the Witches moved out to a 38-30 intermission lead.
“We took our shots,” Goodwin said. “I don’t think we forced too many shots. Huff got going from the outside, Pearson got some buckets in the paint and that’s what helped us get going early and then we were able to ride that out for the rest of the game.”
Brewer stretched its lead to as much as 50-31 on a drive by Huff late in the third quarter and Mt. Blue got no closer than nine points the rest of the way.