AUGUSTA — All you need to know about the Forest Hills boys basketball this season was revealed in the first quarter of its quarterfinal game Saturday against Richmond.
The Tigers forced nine turnovers in the opening period and jumped to a 19-point lead. Just as important, senior star Evan Worster only scored two points.
“Last year, a lot of the offense was designed around me,” Worster said. “Now everyone gets to carry their own load.”
Worster did finish with a team-high 18 points as the No. 1 Tigers cruised to a 74-41 win against the No. 8 Bobcats. But it was a far cry from the tournament record 51 points he scored in the quarterfinals last year.
Forest Hills (17-2) advances to a semifinal meeting with A.R. Gould on Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center while Richmond finishes at 8-12.
The Tigers return all five starters from last year’s regional championship team and the experience they gained from that showed up early in the game.
“Last year we started three freshman,” Forest Hills coach Anthony Amero said. “Today you could see they weren’t nervous. They were here to play today.”
Sophomore forward Ryan Petrin, who has grown four inches since last season, scored eight of his 17 points in the first quarter while sophomore point guard Brandon Ouellette recorded five assists in the first nine minutes, The Tigers led 26-7 at the end of the first quarter and 51-17 at the half.
Richmond, which had a long streak of tournament appearances snapped last season, struggled to get the ball up the floor. And when it did, had a hard time getting quality shots.
“We’ve got a younger team,” Richmond coach Jon Spear said. “We’ve have a couple of seniors who played a lot for us this year so we’ve got a lot of returning (players) so it’s a lot of good experience on that court.”
It looked as if the Tigers might score 100 points but their defense backed off the full-court press in the second half and all nine players on the team scored. Tanner Daigle added 10 points while Brandon and Derrick Ouellette each scored nine.
“Individually all of our players have stepped up offensively and defensively to make this team a lot more dangerous than it was last year,” Worster said. “We definitely want to get back to the state game and I think we’ll have a lot more success than we did last year.”
Senior Eddie Stewart and sophomore Cameron Emmons led the Bobcats with seven points apiece.
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