Fort Fairfield fans rejoice after Isaac Cyr scored his 1,000th career point Friday evening in a Class C North semifinal against Mattanawcook Academy. Fort Fairfield won 53-45. Credit: Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times

BANGOR, Maine — The Fort Fairfield Tigers rolled out a new defense in Friday night’s Class C North semifinal against Mattanawcook Academy, and it proved effective in slowing down the Lynx offensive attack.

No. 2 Fort Fairfield used a unique 1-1-3 halfcourt zone and it held Mattanawcook to 28 percent shooting from the field. The Tigers also outrebounded the athletic Lynx by a 35-19 margin en route to a 53-45 boys basketball win at the Cross Insurance Center.

Fort Fairfield advanced to Saturday’s 8:45 p.m. final against defending state champ George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill. No. 1 GSA defeated No. 5 Fort Kent 76-53 in the late game.

Mattanawcook ended with a 13-7 record after winning just 11 games the previous five seasons.

The Tigers and GSA met in last year’s regional final.

“We just put it in last night,” said Tiger senior guard Malcolm Langner. “It was creative and it really went well and we just stuck with it the whole game.”

“We knew they were wicked athletic and liked to go inside, so we wanted to limit their good shooters and give their bigger guys a chance to shoot and see what they could do, and they all kind of had a off night so we kind of got lucky with that,” he added.

Logan McLaughlin, whose Tigers are heading to the regional title game for the third time in his four years as coach, said assistant coach Andrew Forsman was the brainchild behind the defensive game plan.

“Andrew and I were talking on the bus on the way home Wednesday and he said something about a 1-1-3 and that is exactly what I was trying to find,” McLaughlin said.

“We were looking for a way to keep our bigs in the middle more for rebounding while keeping them off the perimeter,” McLaughlin said. “Our two top guys [Langner and Dawson Watson] did a great job on their rotations.”

Senior Isaac Cyr powered the Fort Fairfield offense, especially in the first half when he provided 16 of his team’s 28 points. He ended up with 24 points, including the 1,000th of his career during the first period.

Jared Harvey, another senior, recorded his second consecutive statistical double-double of the tournament with 13 points and 12 rebounds. This was the case despite his 5-10 frame matched up against a front line that included two 6-4 players for the Lynx.

“That team has some kids who are very athletic, but if you get a body on them down low and they can’t move, you’ll be alright,” Harvey said, “no matter how tall you are.”

Mattanawcook’s athletic 6-4 center, Cayden Spencer-Thompson, was his team’s bright spot offensively with 19 points. He used his leaping ability to get loose for most of his nine field goals.

Fort Fairfield was the aggressor in the first half, controlling the boards on both ends of the floor and finishing with a 19-10 rebounding edge. Cyr spearheaded the offensive attack by hitting five consecutive field goal attempts at one point and going 7-for-12 in the half.

The Tigers ripped off seven consecutive points during a 3:04 stretch in the second quarter, including a pair of field goals by reserve guard Alex Sprague, who capped the spurt with a 15-foot jumper from the baseline. That made the score 28-18, and Mattanawcook never got closer than six the rest of the way.