BANGOR, Maine — Orono realized that it could not afford to allow Mount Desert Island to dictate turnovers and tempo with its full-court pressure.
The Red Riots’ poise in the face of the Trojans’ diamond-and-one alignment and their ability to execute well in the half-court paved the way to a 61-50 Class B North quarterfinal victory at the Cross Insurance Center on Saturday afternoon.
Orono (15-4) demonstrated poise and balance while earning a spot in the 8:35 p.m. semifinal on Feb. 17 against No. 1 Old Town (16-3). No. 5 MDI of Bar Harbor wound up 15-5.
“If we were able to handle their pressure, we liked our chances with our interior game,” said head coach Jason Coleman, whose team committed 13 turnovers. “We thought if we turned it over, they’re such a hot-shooting team where if they get going a couple times, then momentum changes and it was going to be a dogfight.”
Orono received a stout performance in the post from 6-foot-2 junior Jake Koffman, who scored 11 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked four shots along with three assists and a steal.
“Jake is our glue guy,” Coleman said. “If anything goes wrong, he’s the guy that rallies everyone, calms them down.”
Imao Woldring, a 6-7 wing from The Netherlands, scored a game-high 13 points for Orono, while Keenan Collett contributed 11 points and six rebounds. Nate Desisto posted nine points and two steals and Jackson Coutts chipped in with seven points and four rebounds.
Desisto, Collett and Coutts were instrumental in the negotiating MDI’s diamond-and-one press.
Koffman said Orono’s willingness to play their roles unselfishly has made all the difference.
“That’s our strength,” he said. “We finally realized that it’s not going to be one person, it’s going to be a collective performance that’s going to carry us all.”
Orono grabbed the upper hand late in the third quarter. Koffman scored from off a loose ball after the first of three MDI turnovers in 48 seconds, then Desisto made two free throws. Woldring cashed in on another miscue with a baseline move to make it 42-35 after three.
Woldring kept Orono’s momentum going with two foul shots and a finger roll after a Koffman steal, pushing the lead to 46-35. MDI cut the deficit to three on an Andrew Phelps 3-pointer and Riley Swanson’s baseline runner, but Orono remained composed and patient.
The result was an 11-for-12 effort from the foul line in the last 3:43.
“We were able to close the game out by having an extended possession, getting the ball in the paint,” Coleman said.
Orono outscored MDI 22-6 from the foul line as the Trojans (15 turnovers) made only six of 15.
“When they broke our pressure, they got good shots,” said MDI coach Justin Norwood.
Swanson led the Trojans with 11 points and four rebounds, Aaron Snurkowski netted nine points, Andrew Phelps tallied eight points and Russell Kropff added seven points and three blocks.