BANGOR, Maine — A thrilling second-half surge lifted the No. 6 Schenck Wolverines to a 42-41 victory over No. 3 Van Buren Monday morning in the Class D North quarterfinals.
Schenck (10-10 overall) overcame a slow start, with the team trailing 22-11 at the half, to pull off the victory. The Wolverines advance to the semifinals, 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, against the winner of No. 2 Southern Aroostook-No. 7 Katahdin.
Tied at 41-41 with about a minute to play, Wolverine coach Aaron Hutchins gambled by holding for the last shot. That bet paid dividends as junior Ryan Ingalls was fouled with 6.3 seconds to go, with Ingalls making the second of two foul shots for the one-point lead. Van Buren was unable to get a shot off before the timer expired.
“I knew I had a couple of timeouts in my back pocket and worst case we were playing in overtime,” coach Hutchins said. “We are a streaky shooting team and that showed today, but thankfully it was a tale of two halves.”
Kaden Hannan led Schenck with 13 points, while Ingalls added nine; Mason McDunnah and Gabe Whitehouse both had eight; and Nick Powers and Cameron Akerson both had two.
For the Crusaders, Blake Martin had a game-high 16 points, while Henry Hebert added 15. Noah Martin chipped in seven and Samuel Hebert added three.
The Wolverines slowly chipped away at Van Buren’s lead in the third quarter, trailing 31-27, but it was in the fourth quarter that Schenck finally came to life. Schenck tied the game at 33-33 with a quick 6-0 run.
But the Crusaders came roaring back, surging to a 39-33 on a pair of baskets by Blake Martin and another from Noah Martin.
Schenck took its first lead (40-41) with 1:21 to play on a jumper by Ingalls, but the Crusaders knotted the game at 41-41 with a minute to go as Blake Martin sank the first of two free throws.
Coach Hutchins said Schenck’s tough Class C schedule actually proved to be a blessing. “I can not thank those teams enough for pressuring us and putting us in those situations,” he said. “I am 100 percent proud of their effort.”
Both squads overcame a sluggish start to the game, with neither able to find the bottom of the net through the first two minutes of action. Van Buren took a slim 6-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Van Buren ends its season with an 11-7 record.