The No. 4 Machias Bulldogs needed every bit of energy the team could muster to pull out a win against No. 5 Southern Aroostook in Monday night’s Class D North quarterfinal at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Machias (10-8) used a strong second-half surge to distance itself from Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook by using its size to control the rebounding and showed poise from the free-throw line en route to a 57-46 victory.
The Bulldogs advance to the semifinals at 8:30 p.m. Thursday against No. 1 Jonesport-Beals, which beat No. 9 Greater Houlton Christian Academy 58-39 in Monday’s late game.
With his team clinging to a one-point lead (19-18) at the intermission, Bulldogs coach James Getchell said he assured his young squad that a second-half surge was due. His words worked as Machias came used an 11-2 run to start the second half and never trailed again.
“We’re really a young team with two freshmen and three sophomores, and this is our first experience here at the Cross Center with this group,” Getchell said. “We did what we needed to do in the second half and played the way we have for most of the year.”
Four Bulldogs scored in double figures with sophomore Kashman Feeney leading the charge with 16 points and multiple rebounds. Freshman Shane Feeney, sophomore Kyle Anderson and freshman Ethan Foss each had 10 points.
Machias converted an impressive 15 of 20 free throws (75 percent), which was a point of emphasis for Getchell leading up to Monday’s quarterfinal.
“The biggest thing I am proud of is our foul shooting tonight,” the coach said. “That was an issue for us all year long. We could have easily won 13 games if we shot foul shots the way we did tonight. I am very proud of their effort.”
Sophomore Hunter Burpee paced the Warriors with 13 points, while junior Xavier Morales added 11.
“Foul trouble really hindered us tonight,” Southern Aroostook coach Brett Russell said. “We also had a few inopportune missed rebounds. The kids went hard, but it just broke down, which led to a few mental mistakes.”
Southern Aroostook ends its season with a 13-6 record.