BANGOR, Maine — You could almost hear a collective sigh of relief on the Washburn sideline as the final buzzer sounded in Monday night’s Class D North boys basketball quarterfinal.
The Beavers had entered the fourth quarter with a 13-point lead only to see fifth-ranked Bangor Christian close it to three.
In spite of hitting only one field goal in the final period and inconsistency from the foul line, the Beavers managed to hold off the Patriots’ charge and earn a berth in Thursday’s semifinal with a 45-41 win at the Cross Insurance Center.
Coach Randy Norsworthy’s team is 14-5 and will face No. 1 Easton in an 8:35 p.m. Thursday semifinal. Bangor Christian concluded the season 8-10.
Senior Jarrett Olson had been a thorn in the Patriots’ side through three quarters, connecting for 21 points, but the Patriots held him scoreless in the final eight minutes.
Bangor Christian had two chances to tie it in the final minute down 44-41, but Josh Palmeter misfired on two different occasions from the perimeter and the Beavers’ Derek Baker iced it with a free throw with 1.6 seconds left.
Baker’s free throw came after the Beavers had missed on the front end of 1-and-1s on two occasions in the final two minutes.
“That kind of hurt,” Norsworthy said. “We never really got it going that whole game offensively.”
After the Patriots scored the game’s first five points, Washburn closed the first quarter on an 11-2 run and cruised to a 10-point halftime lead.
Taking care of the basketball was an issue for coach Kevin Reed’s Patriots through the first three quarters, as Bangor Christian turned the ball over 17 times in the first 24 minutes.
“Bright lights of the Cross Center, second-guessing passes and second-guessing shots we usually hit,” said Reed, who has three sophomores and two juniors in his starting rotation.
Aside from Olson, the rest of the Beavers struggled offensively, but McCall Turner contributed 13 points in the winning effort.
“My assistant coach just said maybe that can be our bad game,” Norsworthy said. “But we still picked up the [win].”
Sophomore Dean Grass led Bangor Christian with 14 points, including seven in the fourth quarter, and Christian Boone added 10 for a Patriots team that could’ve folded its tent down 13 to a veteran Washburn club with nine seniors.
“It’s never been for a lack of effort with these guys,” said Reed. “That’s never been the case all season.”