BANGOR, Maine — The Mount Desert Island girls basketball team had 7.5 seconds in which to hit a 3-pointer to force overtime in their Class B North schoolgirl tournament semifinal against defending state champ Winslow at the Cross Insurance Center on Wednesday night.
Senior guard Julia Watras came through with a 25-footer from the left side off an Olivia Gray pass as time expired and senior guard Hannah Chamberlain hit a 3-pointer to open the overtime as MDI outscored the cold-shooting Black Raiders 7-1 in the extra session to earn a thrilling 57-51 victory.
Top seed MDI, 18-2, will take on No. 3 Waterville (20-0) in Saturday’s 2:05 p.m. regional final. Waterville beat Hermon 49-38 earlier Wednesday.
Fifth seed Winslow completed a 13-7 campaign.
Watras said the original play involved getting the ball to Chamberlain for a 3-pointer off a double screen.
“But they read that immediately so we had to adjust and it worked out,” said Watras who felt confident her shot was going in after she released it.
“But I didn’t want to cheer until it went in,” chuckled Watras.
Neither team scored in the four-minute overtime until Chamberlain drained a three from the left side with 1:35 left.
“We were looking for the kickouts to me, that’s when I shoot the best,” said Chamberlain.
Weslee Littlefield’s free throw cut it to 53-51 nine seconds later.
MDI senior guard Alexis Clarito, the smallest player on the court at 5-foot tall, grabbed a defensive rebound and dribbled out of danger before being fouled and she sank two free throws with 45.6 seconds left to give her team some valuable breathing room at 55-51.
“I was thinking it was just like practice. Just relax and make them,” said Clarito.
After another Winslow miss, Clarito grabbed another rebound and Watras eventually sewed up the win with two free throws with 21.2 seconds remaining.
“(Clarito) is short but she acts like she’s 6-foot-4,” said Chamberlain whose 3-pointer with 3:40 left in regulation capped a 5-0 run to tie the game 47-47.
“Rebounding is all about the heart. It doesn’t matter what six you are,” said Clarito.
“She’s super athletic, she’s lightning-fast and she’s fearless. She made a lot of big plays for us,” said MDI coach Brent Barker.
The Black Raiders went just 1-for-7 from the foul line over the final 3:18 of regulation which helped allow the Trojans to force overtime.
“The kids played real hard. They were valiant in their effort but we fell short because we couldn’t make a simple free throw. All we needed was one,” said Winslow coach Brenda Beckwith.
Chamberlain finished with 16 points and four rebounds for MDI. Maddy Candage had 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Watras had 13 points and a game-high 19 rebounds and Clarito wound up with 13 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Silver Clukey’s game-high 20 points paced Winslow and Paige Trask had 12 points and five rebounds. Weslee Littlefield registered nine points, three rebounds and three assists. Her sister, Bohdi Littlefield produced six points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals and Maeghan Bernard added four points, eight rebounds and two steals.
The two teams combined for 13 3-pointers in the first half and Mount Desert Island took a 31-28 lead into the intermission thanks to a 24-11 run after falling behind 17-7.