Caribou boys basketball coach Kyle Corrigan didn’t call a timeout after Mount Desert Island built an early eight-point lead on Saturday afternoon.
The Trojans hit some tough shots and he figured the Vikings’ defense eventually would settle down. It did.
Top-seeded Caribou afforded MDI only 15 points for the rest of the half and rode its stingy man-to-man defense and transition points off turnovers to a 61-48 Class B quarterfinal victory at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
“[I was thinking] our defense is fine, we’re not giving up wide-open looks, they’re just making everything,” Corrigan said. “I told them ‘settle down, it’s a long game.’”
Caribou (18-1) advances to play No. 12 Old Town (11-9), a 47-42 upset winner over No. 4 Hermon, in next Wednesday’s 8:30 p.m. semifinal in Bangor.
For the defending state champion Vikings, this season has had a different feel than their Cindrella campaign last winter.
“We were the underdogs last year, no one expected us to do much, but this year everyone’s come gunning for us,” said junior Sawyer Deprey, whose game-high 19 points led Caribou. “The experience really helps.”
The Trojans finished 9-11.
Caribou exhibited tremendous offensive balance as Alex Bouchard tossed in 16 points, Ethan Holdsworth tallied 12 and Parker Deprey posted 10 points and a team-high five rebounds.
Jack DaCorte paced MDI with 16 points and six rebounds, while Brady Renault netted 13 and Nate Philbrook added nine. The Vikings held big man Porter Isaacs to two points and three rebounds.
“We wanted to clog the paint, stop Porter Isaacs from getting easy buckets,” Sawyer Deprey said. “Their game plan was to get the ball to him in the post and let him do what he does, but we stopped that tonight.”
Caribou beat MDI twice during the regular season, winning 66-46 on Dec. 28 in Caribou and 56-50 on Jan. 25 in Bar Harbor.
What the Vikings learned is, they needed to keep the Trojans out of the paint and off the free-throw line.
“We did some research, they scored 70 out of 96 points from the free-throw line and in the paint on us this season,” Corrigan said. “The big key tonight was just trying to keep them out of the paint.”
The Trojans bolted to a 10-2 lead 2:16 into the contest, but the Vikings countered by scoring 17 of the next 23 points to forge a 19-16 lead and never trailed again.
MDI was hampered by turnovers as it committed six of its 10 first-half miscues in the second quarter and finished with 18 in the game.
Caribou eventually built a double-digit lead with a 7-0 third-quarter run that featured Parker Deprey’s steal and layup and a Bouchard fast-break basket off an Isaac Marker steal.