Caribou is still the best bet to win a second straight Class B North boys basketball title, but the quarterfinals demonstrated that it probably won’t be easy.
Caribou (18-1) ground out a 61-48 victory over Mount Desert Island, its third win this season over the Trojans. The Vikings are long defensively and feature plenty of offensive firepower led by Parker Deprey, Sawyer Deprey, Alex Bouchard and Ethan Holdsworth.
In Wednesday’s 8:30 p.m. semi, coach Kyle Corrigan’s squad encounters an Old Town ballclub (11-9) that has won four straight after consecutive regular-season losses to Washington Academy of East Machias, Houlton and Caribou (78-58).
The Coyotes have already stunned Houlton in a road prelim and overcome a Hermon team — which didn’t have senior Isaac Varney due to injury — 47-42 in the quarterfinals. Coach Garrett Libby’s team, featuring junior Shawn Hoogterp and seniors Bryce Richards and Mike Brown won’t have much margin for error.
The Coyotes will have to shoot well, contest 3-pointers, limit second shots and get back quickly in transition. Caribou won the regular-season meeting 78-58 on Feb. 1 in Old Town.
Second seed Ellsworth battled into the semis against a well-disciplined Winslow squad, winning 58-51. Coach Peter Austin’s Eagles (16-3) feature versatile forward Jackson Curtis, who can dominate down low and score from the outside.
Up next for Ellsworth at 7 p.m. Wednesday is No. 3 Washington Academy, which beat Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield 56-45 to advance. The Raiders also have inside-outside potential led by Cecil Gray, Andon Wood and “Jax” Lin.
The teams split their regular-season meetings, the Eagles earning a 62-42 road win on Jan. 8. WA probably prefers a bit of a quicker pace but is athletic enough to challenge.
Talent, tournament experience and confidence should result in a Caribou-Ellsworth regional final.