In this Jan. 22 photo, Brewer senior Dylan Huff shoots a free throw during the home game against Hampden Academy. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

For senior forward Dylan Huff and his classmates on the Brewer High School boys basketball team, Tuesday night’s 68-62 victory over Bangor in the Big East AA-A pod championship game was a long time coming.

“This is the first time we’ve beaten Bangor in my high school career, at least,” said Huff, one of three seniors on the Witches’ roster along with guards Kyle Goodrich and Lenox Cummings. “It’s exhilarating. We hadn’t beaten them once, so to beat them in a playoff game, too, is huge.”

Coach Ben Goodwin’s club, which lost to Bangor twice during the abbreviated regular season, improved to 12-2 and will host Ellsworth for the outright pod championship on Friday. Ellsworth won the Big East Class B pod title Tuesday with a 58-50 victory over Orono.

“We came out and played as a team, that was the big thing,” Goodwin said. “Our scoring was well-rounded and we did all the little things that we didn’t do in the games before to finish it. Bangor’s a great team, they’re very well coached and they play very hard, but I think we matched their intensity.”

Brewer never trailed after intermission, building a 41-32 lead late in the third quarter after back-to-back baskets from Huff and sophomore forward Ryder Goodwin.

Bangor scored seven unanswered points to rally within 41-39 in the opening seconds of the final period when Eli Bradford stole the ball in the backcourt and fed senior forward Andrew Szwez for a layup.

But Brewer countered with a 7-0 run of its own, as junior guard Colby Smith scored from the lane before Huff nailed a 3-pointer and cashed in a layup after Smith grabbed an offensive rebound to extend the Witches’ lead back to 48-39 with 5:55 left.

Szwez made a 3-pointer and a drive to pull Bangor back within 48-44, but a floater from the lane by Smith and a fast-break layup by Huff dulled any momentum built up by the Rams.

Bangor got as close as four points on two more occasions, but Brewer preserved its victory at the free-throw line where Goodrich (eight) and junior guard Aaron Newcomb (four) combined to make 12 consecutive attempts during the game’s final 72 seconds.

Brewer’s offense featured its typical balance, with six players scoring at least six points and four finishing in double figures.

Goodrich led the way with 15 points, followed by sophomore forward Brady Saunders with 13, Huff with 13 and Newcomb with 12.

Smith finished with just six points but was at his quarterbacking best with 12 rebounds along with eight assists and five steals.

Szwez paced Bangor with 15 points and six rebounds, while sophomore guard Keegan Cyr came off the bench to score 14 points. Freshman forward Landon Clark added 10 points, four rebounds and three blocked shots.

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...