BANGOR, Maine — Turnover issues at the beginning of each half plagued the Greater Houlton Christian Academy Eagles in Thursday afternoon’s Class D North boys’ semifinal against Jonesport-Beals.
The No. 2-ranked Royals scored the first 10 points of the game in a 3-minute span, then went on a 15-3 run to begin the second half. Those flurries were crucial in Jonesport-Beals’ 66-53 win.
The Royals trailed by two at intermission, but scored the first six points of the third quarter, four by Adam Robinson, and never trailed again. GHCA committed nine turnovers in the third quarter and 32 in the game.
“We’re not very big and I thought in the halfcourt we would struggle,” Jonesport-Beals coach Skipper Alley said. “So we wanted to get an uptempo game going. We’ve built our last two seasons on defense and the kids did a great job.”
Jonesport-Beals ended up outscoring GHCA 23-10 in the pivotal third quarter. The Royals led by as many as 17 points before settling for the 13-point margin of victory.
“We may have been up by two points [at halftime], but we used a lot of energy coming back in the second quarter and that was definitely a factor in the second half,” GHCA assistant coach Sam Henderson said.
Kaiden Crowley scored 18 points to lead Jonesport-Beals, with 14 of those coming in the second half. Ryan Alley tallied 15, Alvin Beal netted 12 and Judson Carver V posted nine as part of a balanced offensive showing for the Royals (17-2). They will next square off against the Woodland-Schenck semifinal winner in Saturday’s championship game at 10:45 a.m.
GHCA, which collected its first tournament win Saturday over Southern Aroostook, finished with a 16-3 record.
The Eagles were able to survive several careless moments with the basketball in the first quarter (12 turnovers) and the early deficit. The Eagles settled down and actually took their first lead 16 seconds into the second quarter on a Parker Brewer conventional 3-point play. Brewer scored 15 of his team-high 17 points in the first half while dominating down low and GHCA took a 29-27 lead at intermission.
“Basketball is a game of runs and momentum and we started out really well and they may have had a few jitters,” Alley said. “[GHCA] got rolling in the second quarter, but we got the ship righted.”
Jonesport-Beals defied what is the norm in modern-day basketball by not attempting a single 3-point shot the entire game. All 26 of the Royals’ field goals came from 15 feet away from the basket or within.
“We like layups and midrange shots,” Alley said. “That’s just the way our offense is structured.”
GHCA’s Will Austin complemented Brewer’s performance by contributing 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Isaac Potter ended his Eagle career with 11 points.