BANGOR, Maine — History was made for the Greater Houlton Christian Academy Saturday night as the Eagles won their first playoff basketball game in Bangor in the program’s brief history.
No. 3 GHCA (16-2) beat No. 6 Southern Aroostook 54-44 in a Class D North quarterfinal Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center. It marks the first time that the GHCA boys basketball squad has won in Bangor. The team had previously lost three quarterfinal appearances, most recently losing last year to Schneck.
GHCA plays either No. 2 Jonesport Beals versus No. 7 Deer Isle-Stonington Thursday, Feb. 21, at 2:05 p.m.
GHCA had beaten Southern Aroostook (9-9) twice during the regular season — 45-42 in the season opener Dec. 10 and 61-47 Jan. 17 — leading to the pivotal third matchup on the year at the Cross Insurance Center.
Isaac Potter paced the Eagles with 20 points, while Parker Brewer added 11. Jayden Burpee had 19 for Southern Aroostook, while Garrett Siltz added 16 points.
“It’s just amazing,” said Potter, a 6-foot, 4-inch senior center for the Eagles. “We had two heartbreakers losing in the first round the past two years, so we came in and gave it everything we had and give all the glory to God.”
The Eagles are one of the smallest schools in the state, with a total enrollment of 94 students in grades pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. There are only 17 boys in grades 8-12 at GHCA, with 10 of those youths playing basketball.
First-year GHCA coach Matt Day said he was filled with pride for the historic performance by his squad.
“The guys know how big this win is,” Day said. “It’s been like the Bill Buckner curse for us playing in the quarterfinals. We have been trying to get over that hump for years and years. We’re excited, but we know we have to get back to work.”
Southern Aroostook gave the Eagles everything they could handle, particularly in the fourth quarter as the Warriors went on an offensive tear, outscoring SA 17-15. At one point, the Warriors cut the lead to six, 47-41, with just under a minute to play as Burpee took control in the final period scoring 13 of his 19 points in the frame.
“I was very proud of the guys,” SA coach Greg Marter said. “I was hoping we would push the ball a little more than we did early on. I give them (GHCA) credit. They are a very good team.”
SACS ends its season with a 9-9 overall record.