Dethroning the defending Class B state champion Hermon High School boys basketball team will likely involve solving the Hawks’ stingy defense.
Coach Mark Reed’s undefeated Hawks have yielded an average of 35.2 points per game since the only outing this winter they have allowed more than 51 points, a 97-94 triple-overtime victory at Oceanside of Rockland last Dec. 21.
That streak included Saturday’s 58-30 quarterfinal victory over No. 8 Presque Isle that advanced top-ranked Hermon (19-0) to Wednesday afternoon’s regional semifinals against No. 5 Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield.
MCI (15-4) scored its first quarterfinal victory since a 58-50 upset of top-ranked Maranacook of Readfield in 2007 when it outlasted No. 4 Oceanside 58-52 in overtime last Saturday.
The Huskies, the lone remaining Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference team left in the B North field, will attempt to stop Hermon’s 41-game winning streak in their 3:35 p.m. semifinal.
Hermon and MCI did not meet during the regular season.
The Hermon-MCI winner will face the survivor of Wednesday’s 2:05 p.m. semifinal between No. 2 Caribou (16-3) and No. 6 Ellsworth (14-6).
Caribou has won 13 consecutive games since a 3-3 start, including a 73-49 quarterfinal victory over No. 10 Washington Academy of East Machias.
Coach Kyle Corrigan’s Vikings rank among the top scoring teams in the region at 68.9 points per contest.
Caribou defeated Ellsworth twice during the regular season, winning 70-56 at Ellsworth on Dec. 28 and 83-51 at Caribou on Jan. 25.
Ellsworth avenged two regular-season losses to No. 3 Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor — the second on the final night of the regular season — with a 71-48 quarterfinal victory over the Trojans last Saturday.
Class B South is already without its No. 1 seed, as two-time defending regional champion and eighth-ranked Wells (10-10) upended top-seeded Mountain Valley of Rumford 62-52 in the quarters.
Wells will face No. 4 Gray-New Gloucester (13-6) in Thursday’s 7:30 p.m. B South semifinal at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. GNG was a 60-56 homecourt winner over Wells in their lone regular-season meeting on Jan. 18.
Matching up in Thursday’s 6 p.m. semifinal will be No. 2 Maranacook (17-2) and No. 3 Cape Elizabeth (12-7), two teams that did not meet during the regular season.
Maranacook defeated No. 7 Yarmouth 55-41 in the quarterfinals for its 11th straight win, while Cape Elizabeth advanced with a 56-49 win over No. 6 Freeport.
The Class B North boys final is scheduled for 3:35 p.m. Saturday in Bangor, while the B South title game will be played at 2:45 p.m. Saturday in Portland.