BANGOR, Maine — A defensive change early in the third quarter helped the top-seeded Old Town Coyotes pull away from the No. 8 Belfast Lions for an 83-47 Class B North boys basketball quarterfinal win Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center.

Old Town took a 10-point halftime lead and the Lions cut it down to five before the Coyotes changed to a zone defense to shut down Belfast’s strong outside shooting attack.

The Coyotes then rattled off 10 unanswered points for a 50-35 lead with 3:19 left in the third quarter and the Lions got no closer than 11 the rest of the way.

Old Town (16-3), which won a state title two years ago, advanced to a semifinal showdown against rival Orono at 8:35 p.m. Wednesday at the Cross Center. Belfast, which made its first trip to a tourney quarterfinal in Bangor since 2001, finished with a 9-11 record.

Andre Miller showed off some explosive moves to the basket and finished with 23 points to lead the Coyotes, who featured offensive balance with 20 points from Kaleb Gifford and 15 from Drew Coulombe.

Nolan Woods paced Belfast with 20 points, but was held to four in the second half. Zane Bielenberg chipped in with 11 points.

Behind a balanced offensive attack, Old Town surged to a 17-point lead with 2:19 left in the first half, but Belfast responded with a 10-0 scoring run behind eight points from Woods, two on 3-pointers, to cut Old Town’s lead to 36-29 at halftime.

Two more 3-pointers by Bielenberg, one from NBA distance, to start the second half sparked the change by Old Town coach Brian McDormand to 1-2-2 zone.

“It was something we’ve been working on this week for Belfast,” McDormand said. “We hadn’t played it all year, so we were a bit leary of trying it but it got to a point where we figured we’d give it a shot for one or two possessions and it was the difference in the game.”

The Coyotes limited the Lions to one shot and also forced some turnovers that put the Coyotes into more of a fast-paced game.

“This is a bigger court, which we like and we wanted to get out in the open court and run,” McDormand said.

The Old Town defense held the Lions to a an 18-for-56 shooting effort (32 percent) from the floor and controlled the rebounding game.

“A big thing was we didn’t rebound like we have, which got us some close victories this season,” Belfast coach Marty Messer said. “Old Town is a great rebounding and great defensive team.”

The Coyotes shot 59 percent from the field (34 of 57) sparked by superlative effort from Miller, who hit 10 of his 12 shots.

Joe McLaughlin

McLaughlin (right) is a Stearns High School and University of Maine graduate who worked for three years at the Aroostook Republican and News in Caribou as a reporter and editor. He has worked on the BDN...