BANGOR, Maine — Katahdin pushed Washburn to the limit on Saturday night. The Cougars rallied from 15 points down in the first half to take the lead with 4:10 left in the game.
Rather than let it slip away, the five-time defending state champions relied on their big-game experience and poise.
Senior Emmy Churchill scored eight fourth-quarter points, including two free throws with 11.6 seconds to play, to lift No. 2 Washburn to a 67-62 Class D North girls basketball quarterfinal victory over the No. 7 Cougars.
“I think it helps with nerves. Having more experience, we’re composed,” Churchill said.
“We knew we were going to have to fight the whole way, but things turned out in our favor,” she added.
Churchill and classmate Laine Mette spearheaded a relentless defense that helped coach Diana Trams’ Beavers (15-4) advance to Thursday’s 2:05 p.m. semifinal against No. 3 Shead of Eastport, a 34-22 winner over Deer Isle-Stonington.
Churchill, senior Grace Bailey and freshman Kassie Farley were key performers as Washburn made clutch plays down the stretch.
“I don’t think we got rattled,” Trams said.
The Beavers prevailed despite allowing Katahdin of Stacyville (10-10) to shoot 50 percent (27-for-54) from the floor. The Cougars outrebounded Washburn 44-25, but were plagued by 26 turnovers.
“We just tried to keep the tempo going, keep the pace (up),” said Trams, whose team mixed up defenses including a triangle-and-two and a 1-3-1 half-court trap.
Churchill connected for 23 points with five rebounds and Mette tossed in 16 points. Farley (5 rebounds) and Braley (7 rebounds) scored 13 and 11 points, respectively. The Beavers shot 25-for-55 (45 percent).
Senior guard Courtney Stevens sparked Katahdin with 23 points on 11-for-16 shooting and sophomore forward Natalie Rickards piled up 18 points and 18 rebounds with two blocked shots. Georgia Landry chipped in with nine points and five rebounds and Molly Cunningham added six points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.
Washburn led 37-22 late in the first half but Katahdin got back into it amidst a 10-1 run that cut the deficit to 48-45 after three quarters. Stevens made two baskets during a 6-0 spurt early in the fourth that gave the Cougars a 51-50 lead.
They were up two at the 4:10 mark, but Kristen Sarmiento stuck a 16-footer and Farley made a layup in transition. Katahdin had chances to regain the lead, but Churchill made two foul shots with 11.6 seconds left and Farley added two after a turnover to ice it.