BANGOR — With Nokomis playing excellent defense on Gardiner’s top-scoring duo, guard Jake Palmer and center Aaron Toman, somebody else had to step up for the Tigers.

In this case, it was two somebodies.

Senior forwards Alonzo Connor and Matt Hall combined for 23 points and 20 rebounds, helping No. 3 Gardiner earn a 56-47 overtime win against No. 6 Nokomis in the Eastern Class B boys basketball quarterfinals.

Gardiner, now 17-2, will take on No. 2 Medomak Valley (17-2) at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Bangor Auditorium. For Nokomis, it was the second overtime loss in the regional quarterfinals in as many years, and the Warriors end the season at 14-6.

Both teams had a chance to win the game in the closing seconds of regulation. Nokomis guard Spencer Hartsgrove missed a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left. With three seconds to play, Gardiner’s Palmer missed a fadeaway baseline jumper.

Gardiner outscored Nokomis 9-0 in overtime to earn the win.

“It was rough, but we just played 100 percent the whole game. We knew if we kept that up, we could pull it out,” Palmer said.

With Nokomis focused on stopping Toman (14 points) and Palmer (eight points), Connor and Hall stepped up, especially in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. Connor scored on a putback layup with 1:32 left in the fourth to tie the game at 47, and that came after he and Hall each made some foul shots to cut into a small Nokomis lead.

“Me and Matty, we were open. If they were double teamed, they’d just find us, and we finished. I’ve never been at the line that much,” Connor, who shot 11 free throws, making five, said.

Hall made 2 of 4 foul shots, both coming late in the fourth quarter.

“They were going to make those guys prove they could shoot free throws, and they knocked just enough down,” Gardiner coach Jason Cassidy said.

The teams traded the lead 10 times in regulation, and Nokomis led 46-42 with three minutes left in the fourth quarter.

“Our kids have been there other times this season, so I knew that wasn’t insurmountable. We were down three with a minute left to Leavitt,” Cassidy said.

Connor and Hall each hit a free throw to cut the Warriors’ lead to two, 46-44 and, after Nokomis’ Andrew Cartright and Hall traded foul shots, the Warriors led 47-45 with two minutes to play.

Both Connor and Hall finished with a double-double. Connor had 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Hall had 12 points and 10 boards. Seven of Connor’s rebounds came at the offensive end, while Hall had three offensive rebounds.

“We didn’t rebound the ball well enough. I thought that was the key. Hall was immense for them,” Nokomis coach Carl Parker said “Their role players played well. They did a good job.”

Defensively, Gardiner worked on containing guard Ethan Pearl and Cartright. Aside from a brief foray into a full court zone press in the second half, the Tigers stuck with man-to-man defense.

“We came in with all kinds of defensive plans. We kind of went straight up, because guys were feeling confident,” Cassidy said.

Added Palmer: “We really didn’t want Pearl or Cartright to shoot. Cartright got some shots off of some screens, and I think we held Pearl (six points) really well.”

Cartright scored 11 of his game-high 15 points in the second half. His 3-pointer a minute into the fourth quarter gave the Warriors a 38-34 lead.

“I think we had chances to make runs early, and we just didn’t do it. We’d make a run, then we’d make a couple defensive mistakes, and they really put the pressure on us. They smelled blood and they attacked,” Cassidy said.

Hartsgrove scored 13 points off the bench for Nokomis.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.