A strong defensive effort carried the No. 4 Old Town Coyotes past No. 5 Houlton 44-34 Saturday morning in a Class B North quarterfinal at the Cross Insurance Center.
The Coyotes (14-5) advance to the semifinals Wednesday, Feb. 19, where they take on the winner of No. 1 Hermon vs. No. 9 John Bapst.
Youth was on display for the Coyotes in Saturday’s game as sophomore Maddie Emerson led all players with 17 points, with 13 of those coming in the second half. Junior Hannah Richards added 11 for the Coyotes.
Senior Teagan Ewings and junior Becca Howe led the Shires with nine points each.
“We were hoping to have a much better shooting [day] and I am sure [Houlton coach Shawn Graham] was for his team,” Old Town coach Heather Richards said. “Usually we are both pretty good shooting teams. We were just able to capitalize on a few more things.”
Neither squad was particularly sharp to start Saturday’s first game of the session, with Old Town leading 9-5 at the end of the first quarter.
Houlton heated up somewhat in the second quarter, taking its first lead of the game with 2:14 to play on a 3-pointer by Howe. The lead swapped back and forth four times before Old Town went up 15-14 on an Emerson basket from the low post with 38 seconds to go in the first half.
The Shires came close a few times in the third quarter, but were never able to string together consecutive baskets to regain the lead.
Coach Richards said her team was “touch and go” on boxing out for rebounds, but managed to limit Houlton to single looks at the basket when it mattered most.
Neither team was particularly strong from the free throw line, with Old Town converting 8 of 19 foul shots (42 percent) while Houlton made 3 of 6 free throws (50 percent).
Old Town had split with the Shires during the regular season with the Shires winning 59-48 at Houlton and the Coyotes picking up a 52-36 win at Old Town.
Houlton ends its season with a 12-8 overall record.