HOULTON, Maine — Playing with fierce determination, the No. 11 John Bapst boys basketball pulled off a stunning 57-47 upset over No. 6 Houlton in a Class B North prelim Wednesday evening.
The Crusaders (9-10 overall) advance to the Class B North quarterfinals where they will face No. 3 Foxcroft Academy (14-5) 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18. Houlton ends its season with a 10-7 overall record.
Eduardo Fiore and Jordan Kimball each scored 12 points to lead the Crusaders. Corey Butler chipped in with 10 points, while Kevin Austin and Andrew Czapiga both had seven, Jon Pangburn added five, and Levi Peterson had four.
For Houlton, Isaiah Gentle scored 12 points, while Cody Johnston added 10, Collin Moody had nine, Caleb Solomon had six, and Jaden Gentle, Isaiah Ervin and Garrett Harvey each added two.
“Houlton is a very tough team and we knew they were going to bring energy, so we needed to match that,” John Bapst coach Ed Jones said. “My hat goes off to Houlton, they fought extremely hard. Both teams played with a lot of heart tonight.”
The lead changed hands four times in the first quarter, as both teams enjoyed success from the floor, but it was the Crusaders who led for much of the contest. John Bapst led 19-13 at the end of the first quarter.
Houlton managed to cut the lead to a single possession at the halftime break (26-23) with a layup from Isaiah Gentle and an offensive putback by Isaiah Ervin and that trend continued early in the third quarter.
The Shires managed to take the lead (29-28) with 4:20 remaining, but John Bapst quickly regained its composure and used a 9-0 run to close out the third quarter on top 38-29.
In the final quarter, Houlton was never able to get closer than six points as John Bapst converted the majority of its free throws down the stretch for the victory. An inability to convert free throws hurt the Shires chances as Houlton made just four of 13 foul shots (31 percent), while John Bapst converted 17-of-32 free throws (53 percent).