BANGOR, Maine — Mount Desert Island senior guard Alexis Clarito knew the time was running down in the third quarter so when the ball rolled to her, she had just one option.
She launched a desperation 3-pointer from the left side of the key and it rattled in to expand the Trojans’ lead over Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield to 11 and top seed MDI ended a string of four straight Class B North tournament quarterfinal losses with a 42-27 triumph Saturday afternoon at the Cross Insurance Center.
MDI improved to 17-2 and will now take on defending state champ Winslow, 13-6, in Wednesday night’s 8:35 p.m. semifinal.
Ninth seed MCI wound up 10-10.
MDI scored the first nine points of the second half to build a 30-20 lead before Sydney Farrar’s driving layup ended MCI’s drought with 2:45 left in the third quarter.
That was the way things stood until a loose ball landed at Clarito’s feet.
“I didn’t really have my footing, I thought I traveled,” said Clarito, whose 3-pointer was her only basket of the game. “I just chucked it up there and I made it. It felt really off when I released it.”
“That was a huge momentum swing for us,” said MDI coach Brent Barker.
MCI couldn’t get any closer than seven the rest of the way.
MDI led 21-20 at the half and Maddy Candage triggered the 9-0 to start the second half with a layup and a basket off her offensive rebound.
Candage missed the final 5:32 of the first half with foul trouble.
“I had a good rest in the first half,” chuckled Candage.
Clarito then fed Hannah Chamberlain for a three before a foul shot apiece from Chamberlain and Julia Watras capped the run.
MDI limited MCI to three field goals in 17 shot attempts with its aggressive 2-3 zone in the second half and held Farrar to four points after the senior guard had scored 13 in the first half.
“Our defensive intensity was so much better in the second half,” said Chamberlain, who had four steals in the third quarter. “‘We covered the wings better and we made sure we got out on (Farrar).”
“That’s the best defensive game we’ve played all season,” Candage said.
“We held them to 42 points but we didn’t execute on offense,” said MCI coach Jordan Larlee. “We couldn’t make shots.”
Chamberlain finished with 12 points, four steals and three rebounds and Watras had 11 points and five rebounds. Candage chipped in eight points, six rebounds and two assists, Rachelle Swanson had six points, four rebounds and three steals and Clarito wound up with five points, four assists and three rebounds.
Farrar had an exceptional all-around game with 17 points, four rebounds, three steals and three assists for MCI. Christa Carr had 10 rebounds and Leah Bussell produced four points and four rebounds.