BANGOR, Maine — Tuning out the bright lights and noise is never an easy thing for a basketball team to accomplish, especially come tournament time.
So when Washburn girls basketball coach Tyler Putnam needed to get his point across to the Beavers during Monday’s game, he started singing on the sideline. Putnam’s song of choice was, appropriately, “Time Is On My Side,” by the Rolling Stones.
“We aren’t the most patient team offensively, but we also know that we can’t score 100 points,” Putnam said. “So we have to be very patient on offense and the only way I could get them to do that was if I sang. Then they would remember to be patient.”
No. 6 Washburn (11-8) showed that patience as the Beavers upset No. 3 Central Aroostook of Mars Hill 54-47 Monday morning in a Class D North quarterfinal at the Cross Insurance Center.
Washburn plays No. 2 Shead, a 73-33 winner over No. 7 Ashland on Monday, in Thursday’s 7:05 p.m. semifinal. Central Aroostook ends its season with a 13-6 record.
Washburn’s Kassie Farley led the way with 22 points, while Maggie Castonguay scored 12. Skylar Mette and Kristen Sarmiento both added eight points and Alexis Carney chipped in seven.
For Central Aroostook, Katie Levesque and Ashlee Harris both had 12 points, while Caitlin Harris added eight.
Coach Putnam said he got the idea for singing to his players, since a similar strategy worked while teaching history class at the high school.
“I have a lot of the players in history and they tuned me out completely sometimes,” he said. “So I started singing they started listening.”
Playing each other for the fourth time of the season — two regular-season and one preseason contest — there was nothing unexpected for either coach in Monday’s game. CAHS beat Washburn twice during the regular season: 47-40 at Mars Hill Jan. 2 and 61-39 at Washburn Jan. 30.
But in Monday’s game it was all Washburn as the Beavers — who won five consecutive state titles from 2011-15 — overcame the early deficit and held off a late Panthers surge for the win.
The Beavers showed tremendous poise on the court, never getting too flustered, even as CAHS bolted to a 7-0 lead to start the game.
“I try to tell the girls it doesn’t matter where you are playing, whether it’s in your front yard with snow on the ground trying to get some shots in at your home or down here in Bangor. Basketball is the same thing,” Putnam said. “If you can block out all the noise and the lights, it just comes down to basketball.”
Monday’s game featured just three lead changes, all coming in the first quarter. The Beavers went up 11-10 at the end of the first quarter on a baseline jumper by Farley. CAHS kept the game close in the second quarter, but Washburn slowly pulled away in the second half.
The Panthers made just 10 of 20 foul shots (50 percent), while Washburn sank 15 of 20 (75 percent).