BANGOR, Maine — If the line of people waiting to get into the Cross Insurance Center on Wednesday evening was any indication, the matchup between No. 1 Old Town and No. 4 Orono was the contest of the tournament.
A near-capacity crowd was on hand to witness the highly anticipated, first-ever postseason game between the Coyotes and Red Riots. An estimated 3,500 people were in attendance, according to Cross Center officials.
And the game certainly gave the fans their money’s worth as No. 4 Orono (16-4) stunned top-ranked Old Town 52-51 in a thrilling game to close out the Class B North boys basketball semifinals. Orono’s Jake Koffman hit the second of two foul shots with 3.8 seconds to play, giving the Red Riots the lead for the first time since the first quarter.
“Jake is one of our better free throw shooters,” Orono coach Jason Coleman said. “He’s a kid who is very precise in everything he does. So when he shoots foul shots, he is the exact same every time.”
Coleman said he told Koffman to “have fun” after he missed the first shot, which drew a smile from the junior forward. Koffman was a rebounding machine in the game, finishing with seven points, 13 rebounds and two steals.
Nate Desisto led Orono with 11 points, while Keenan Collett added 10 points.
The Red Riots takes on No. 2 Ellsworth in the Class B North championship at about 3:45 p.m. Saturday.
“For us to move up to Class B after playing C last year, and to get a chance to play in a regional championship is amazing,” Coleman said. “It’s a testament to the kids and what we’ve worked on all year long.”
The two teams met twice during the regular season, with Old Town winning both — 65-53 and 66-57. Old Town averaged 64 points per game, while Orono averaged 58.
Old Town was paced by Kaleb Gifford, who tallied 13 points, while Ryan Hoogterp added 11 points and five rebounds.
The Coyotes played with a lead from midway through the first quarter, including by as much as seven points early in the fourth quarter. But Orono showed patience from the floor to work its way back into the game.
Old Town was 2-of-7 from behind the 3-point arc, while Orono made 2-of-6 from 3-point range.
Old Town ends its season with a 16-4 record.