BANGOR, Maine — Caribou prefers to take a patient approach to wear down opposing defenses. Washington Academy likes a more wide-open style.
On Friday night, coach Chris Casavant’s ballclub was able to impose its methodical style of play on the Raiders.
The sixth-seeded Vikings ground it out, overcoming 20 of their own turnovers to knock off the No. 3 Raiders 51-44 at the Cross Insurance Center.
Caribou (12-8) meets the winner of Saturday’s Ellsworth-Maine Central Institute game in a 7:05 p.m. semifinal on Wednesday.
“We knew they wanted to get up and down. The only way we had a chance to win is to control the tempo,” Casavant said.
Senior Donovan Savage made nine of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter and Caribou went 14-for-16 from the line in the period to hold off a late charge by Washington Academy (16-3).
Savage was the high scorer with 18 points, 12 of which came from the foul line. His savvy ball-handling was pivotal against WA’s relentless pressure and trapping.
“If I could have anybody on the free-throw line (it would be him),” Casavant said.
Senior Ricky Sheldon was a force in the paint, posting 15 points and 11 rebounds for Caribou, and also played strong defense, while Gabe Massey added 10 points and seven rebounds.
“The thing that we’re most proud of is Ricky is defense. He had to guard the (Pei Kai Justin) Su kid, who’s much quicker than he is,”
Janko Stojanovich scored 16 of his game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Raiders. Su chipped in with eight points.
The Vikings extended their lead by two points in the third quarter. They played tight, sagging man-to-man defense, surrendering a couple of nice drives to the basket by Cameron Varney.
At the offensive end, Massey got position for a pair of close-range baskets to make it 28-19 after three.
The teams pretty much traded baskets early in the fourth, when Stojanovic asserted himself and began to carry the WA offense. The Raiders got within 37-34 on his conventional three-point play with 2:05 to play, but the Vikings made their next six free throws to keep the upper hand.
Caribou led 19-13 at intermission after doing a good job of controlling the tempo with its deliberate style. The Vikings committed 11 turnovers and the Raiders had 10 of their own.
Caribou shot 7-for-17 (41 percent) and Washington Academy struggled through 25 percent (5-for-20) shooting, including a 1-for-8 effort from beyond the 3-point arc.