Machias High School freshman guard Ethan Foss wanted to atone for his first half on Saturday morning. He had picked up three fouls, including a technical, and sat out the entire second quarter as his team fell behind Easton in their Class D North championship game at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Foss took advantage of the clean slate, scoring 14 second-half points as the fourth-seeded Bulldogs rallied for a 53-42 victory over No. 6 Easton.
The Bulldogs (12-8), state titlists in 2017, play defending state champion Forest Hills of Jackman in the 2:45 p.m. state title game on Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.
The Bears ended the season with a 11-9 record.
Machias led 12-7 when Foss exited the game with three fouls late in the first quarter and he had to watch his team get outscored 17-6 the rest of the half.
“I don’t like sitting on the bench so when we went into the locker room at halftime, I knew I needed to get my stuff together and help the team out. I didn’t help them out at all in the first half,” Foss said. “We really needed to win the game and I had to pick my head up off the ground.”
“He’s a great player. He’s a big part of their offense.
“When he went out in the first half, they got complacent on defense, they weren’t as aggressive,” Easton coach Bradley Trask said. “When he came back, they were a different team.”
Foss wasted little time making an impact, hitting a jumper to open the second half and following a Shane Feeney 3-pointer with one of his own to cap an 8-2 run that tied the game.
The teams were tied on four more occasions until Kashman Feeney’s 12-foot jump shot with 5:40 left in the game gave Machias the lead for good at 38-37.
It was still a one-point game when Shane Feeney, Kashman’s cousin, got the bounce on a 3-pointer with three minutes left as the ball hit the rim and bounced high in the air before falling through the rim.
“I didn’t think it was going in but when it did, I was some happy,” said Foss. “That got us up and moving.”
“Shooter’s touch,” grinned Shane Feeney. “It was in the air quite a long time.”
That made it 43-39 and Easton didn’t score again until Owen Nicholson knocked down a 3-pointer at the final buzzer.
Foss converted a short baseline jumper off a Jayden Rhodes pass with two minutes left and then sank five of six free throws down the stretch to salt the game away.
“Our foul shooting has come a long way from the beginning of the season,” said Foss.
Machias made 12 of its 14 free throws in the second half including 10 of 12 in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs also outrebounded Easton 17-11 in the second half after being outscrapped under the boards by the smaller Bears (12-7) in the first half.
“We talked in the locker room at halftime and knew it would come down to rebounds and foul shots. We came out with a lot of energy,” Foss said.
Foss finished with a game-high 17 points along with three rebounds and two assists for Machias, which starts three sophomores and two freshmen.
“They’re a heck of a team. They’re very poised for a young group of guys,” Trask said.
Shane Feeney had 14 points, 12 in the second half, and four rebounds and Kashman Feeney contributed 13 points and seven rebounds. Rhodes contributed five points and three assists and Kyle Anderson had four points, five rebounds and four blocked shots.
Austin Carver’s 11 points and six rebounds, Matthew Pangburn’s nine points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals and Troy Chasse’s eight points and five rebounds led Easton. Kooper Kinney added four points.