There were no secrets on Tuesday as second-seeded Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln met No. 7 Dexter in a Class C North quarterfinal at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
The teams, which played twice during the regular season, advanced to the tournament largely on the strength of their defense and that was the key dynamic as they met for the third time this season.
Coach Lucas Turner’s Lynx capitalized on their familiarity with the Tigers, grinding out a 47-37 victory in a defensive struggle.
MA (16-3) advances to play No. 3 George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill, a 73-37 winner over Calais earlier on Friday, in Friday’s 2:05 p.m. semifinal in Bangor.
MA and GSA split during the regular season, each winning on its home court.
The Lynx completed its season sweep of the Tigers after winning the regular-season meetings 41-34 on Jan. 3 at Dexter and 52-31 at home on Jan. 16.
“We play really great man-[to-man] and that’s what we go to all the time,” said senior Max Woodman, whose 15 points and five rebounds led MA.
“When we came out in that first half and we played as good defense as we did, coach said we’re not changing it up, we’re going to stick with it and come out with a win.”
The Lynx held the Tigers to 22 percent shooting [4-for-18] in that first half, but managed only a 21-14 lead. Alex Brown sent MA into the locker room with a boost, banking in a shot from beyond half-court.
Dexter made 16 of its 24 turnovers in that first half and while MA had nine before the break and 19 overall, it had more offensive punch than the Tigers.
The most dynamic play of the game came with 3:18 left in the second quarter when MA’s Brown made a steal and got the ball up to Nate Ring, who kissed the ball off the glass to set up a nifty dunk by Cayden Spencer-Thompson.
“Cayden had a great dunk and Alex made a half-court shot, so that just made it feel like it was completely different [than a seven-point lead],” Woodman said.
The Lynx stretched their lead to 13 points in the third quarter on Woodman’s 3-pointer at the 55-second mark, then never let Dexter get closer than eight after that.
Spencer-Thompson added another dunk among his 11 points and snared seven rebounds, while Brown tallied 10 points and five rebounds and Jackson Weatherbee added seven points for MA.
Haedyn Guenther tossed in a game-high 16 points and posted eight rebounds and a blocked shot to pace Dexter. Nate Richards scored nine points, Kobe Pillsbury grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds and Trever Richards added six rebounds.