BANGOR, Maine — Coach Cliff Urquhart’s Southern Aroostook Warriors had never entered the Class D North tournament as the defending champions prior to this season.
They passed the first test easily as they vie for back-to-back titles, thoroughly dismantling the Washburn Beavers in Monday evening’s quarterfinal at the Cross Insurance Center by a score of 84-31.
The Warriors made an early statement with a dominating first quarter. They jumped out to a 29-4 lead thanks to a smothering defense which forced 10 turnovers and allowed Washburn to take only four shots.
In the game, Southern Aroostook forced 30 turnovers, blocked nine shots and outrebounded Washburn by a 35-16 margin.
In addition to their ability to prevent the Beavers from scoring, Southern Aroostook displayed a dangerous offensive attack which featured numerous contributors. The Warriors went 29 for 59 from the floor for a 49 percent clip, with many shots coming from the midrange or beyond the 3-point arc.
“I thought we shot the ball really well tonight,” Urquhart said. “And that’s encouraging because when you come down to this place you never know. Sometimes the rim can look very small, but it looked big, and that’s a good thing.”
Southern Aroostook was led by Sydney Brewer, who scored 20 points (8 for 12 from the field) and grabbed eight rebounds. Makaelyn Porter and Kylie Vining added 14 and 13 points respectively. Porter was 8 for 9 from the foul line and had four steals, while Vining was 3 for 5 shooting 3-pointers. Kassidy Mathers was also in double figures for the Warriors with 10 points.
Emma Johnston’s 14 points paced Washburn. Senior Kassandra Farley finished up her stellar career by netting 10 for the Beavers, while her younger sister Kyli Farley had five rebounds and two steals.
Top-ranked Southern Aroostook improved to 17-2 entering Thursday’s 8:35 p.m. semifinal against No. 4 Schenck of East Millinocket, a 56-38 winner of Shead of Eastport.
Washburn, the No. 8 team in the division, finished with a 9-11 record.