In the tournament’s biggest upset so far, No. 7 Presque Isle took down No. 2 Winslow on Friday night in a B North boys basketball quarterfinal.
Brayden Castonguay drilled a triple from the right corner with two seconds left on the third quarter clock, the Presque Isle crowd that traveled for hours to the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor went wild and the Wildcats were a quarter away from a massive upset in the quarterfinals.
The triple put No. 7 Presque Isle up eight on No. 2 Winslow and it had all the momentum. The Wildcats kept the pressure up in the fourth and hung on for a 65-45 upset victory.
Presque Isle will play No. 3 Orono on Wednesday in the semifinals.
“Every person on this team had a role,” Presque Isle coach Dillon Kingsbury said. “Everyone from Jack Hallett working his butt off, to Dawson Beaulieu knocking down free throws. Coaches preach free throws and rebounding and we did that.”
The Black Raiders built a 16-14 lead after the first quarter thanks in part to five points from both Jason Reynolds and Andrew Poulin. On the other side, Malachi Cummings scored seven for Presque Isle.
Cummings and Reynolds are both 1,000-point career scorers.
Cummings and Reynolds are both 1,000-point career scorers. Both teams knew the other’s star would need to be a point of emphasis.
Cummings finished with 27 points.
“He’s phenomenal,” Kingsbury said of his senior wing. “A superstar. I am so lucky to have him on my team. He’s been an awesome guy for us in his decision making, composure, he trusts his teammates and they trust him.”
In his first game at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Cummings shined.
“It feels better than any other win,” Cummings said. “It’s my first win here, it feels great. My teammates helped me get open and when they hit a couple big shots they helped me get open. Once those first few shots go in then they keep going after that.”
The Wildcats held Winslow to just four points in the second quarter and Presque Isle took a 23-20 lead into the half.
Cummings added 10 points in the third quarter and teammate Jack Buck added four. On defense, much of Presque Isle’s attention was paid to Reynolds.
“Jason Reynolds is a phenomenal player,” Kingsbury said “One of the best players in the state and he’s going to have a great career going forward if he chooses to play basketball. We just wanted to squeeze them early, make them feel uncomfortable.”
Reynolds, who averaged 28.8 points per game this season, had just two points in the second quarter and was held scoreless in the third. Poulin poured in seven points in the third but the Wildcats scored 19 in the third, including Castonguay’s three, and took a 42-34 lead into the final frame.
Winslow (17-2) defeated Presque Isle (11-8) twice in the regular season. The games were both in December, so Winslow coach Ken Lindlof knew Presque Isle would look different on Friday night.
“They adopted this style a few games ago of that double stack, melting the clock a little bit and then getting in situations to get Malachi going,” Lindlof said. “They executed well, we were prepared for it, and obviously it’s a 20-point loss but it’s a lot closer than that for a long time and then it’s uphill and then it’s desperation.”
Presque Isle started the fourth quarter shooting 10-11 from the free throw line and stifled everyone on Winslow except Poulin, who hit two 3-pointers early in the period.
With 2:20 to play, Cummings grabbed a rebound and pushed the ball up to halfcourt where he was fouled hard on the head. Cummings exited the game due to bleeding but left the Wildcats a 58-42 lead.
Reynolds finally got on the board in the fourth with a free throw with two minutes to play but the Wildcats’ defensive game plan did the job holding the star senior to just eight points.
Lindlof said he was proud of his team and his seniors after the game.
“This is an outstanding senior group and they brought a lot of pride to our school and community,” Lindlof said. “They did everything you could ask of them. They just didn’t have enough to move forward and that’s sports.”
Dawson Beaulieu shot 7-of-10 from the free throw line in the fourth and finished with 11 points for Presque Isle.
Poulin paced Winslow with 19 points.