The Brewer Witches earned their second straight trip to the Class A North boys basketball semifinals with a 63-47 victory over Messalonskee of Oakland at the Augusta Civic Center on Saturday night.
The win advances coach Ben Goodwin’s club (13-6) to Wednesday’s 8:30 p.m. second-round game against top-seeded Hampden Academy (18-1).
Messalonskee, which did not qualify for postseason play last winter, finished this season with an 11-8 record.
Trevor Pearson scored 14 of his team-high 18 points after intermission for a balanced Brewer attack.
Junior forward Dylan Huff had 12 of his 17 points in the first half for the Witches while freshman Brady Saunders added 10 points. Aaron Newcomb scored seven and Colby Smith added six points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
“I’m not worried about points at all and I think that’s the cool thing about our team,,” said Pearson, the lone senior on the Brewer roster. “We’re all going to get ours, and we’re not worried about getting ours. Coming into this game we were all saying we don’t care if each of us has two points or if one of us gets 40. As long as we win the game, that’s all we want.”
Senior guard Tucker Charles led Messalonskee with 18 points, while Matt Parent had 13.
Each team won on its home court during the regular season, with Messalonskee edging Brewer 55-53 on Dec. 27 and Brewer scoring a 74-62 win on Jan. 9.
But Brewer entered the tournament with six wins in its last seven games while Messalonskee had dropped three straight — albeit to the top three seeds in the division, Hampden Academy, Cony of Augusta and Medomak Valley of Waldoboro.
Brewer never trailed during the opening 16 minutes of play after Newcomb opened the game with the first of the Witches’ seven 3-pointers in the first half.
Five of those long-range shots came during the second quarter, which began with Brewer building a 25-12 lead only the have Messalonskee rally behind Charles and Parent to draw within 25-21 with two minutes left before the break.
Brewer then scored the last eight points of the half, beginning with a drive into the lane by Smith and followed by back-to-back 3-pointers by Huff and Saunders.
“We were hitting our shots,” Smith said. “Huff got going, Aaron got going, [Saunders] got going, When my guys get to the right place at the right time, I’ve just got to make a pass so they can knock down a shot.
“It makes them look good and it makes me look good.”
Messalonskee scored the first three points of the second half to pull within 33-24, but two free throws by Pearson and a drive by Smith erased that modest bit of momentum. And while the Witches managed just two more 3-pointers after intermission, the offense instead flowed more through Pearson and the lead never went below double digits the rest of the way.
“We’re a good enough team to recognize that when we’re not shooting well we’ve got to attack and we’ve got Trevor in the paint to get some buckets,” Smith said.