After the Medomak Valley boys basketball team beat Gardiner in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship game, 61-57, coach Nick DePatsy praised the Tigers.

“Gardiner’s tough,” DePatsy said after the game. “They’re a very competitive team. They’re going to be a tough out in the tournament.”

To advance in the Eastern B tournament, DePatsy’s Panthers are going to have to beat Gardiner one more time. The KVAC B rivals meet at 2 p.m. today at the Bangor Auditorium in the regional semifinals. The other semifinal game features No. 1 Mt. Desert Island (19-0) against No. 5 Presque Isle (15-5).

No. 2 Medomak Valley (17-2) also beat No. 3 Gardiner (17-2) early in the regular season, 64-53.

“We were a little rough around the edges then,” Gardiner coach Jason Cassidy said. “We need to execute better.”

With plenty of size, Medomak Valley is a tough matchup for most teams. The Panthers have 6-foot-7 John Murray in the low post, along with 6-5 Ryan Ripley. Murray scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds when Medomak Valley played Gardiner in the conference championship game, while Ripley had 11 rebounds.

It will be up to Aaron Toman (6-4), Matt Hall (6-1) and Alonzo Connor (6-1) to defend the Panthers’ big men. All three have played bigger than they are all season, Cassidy said.

“The three of them, they have a lot of heart,” Cassidy said. “If two guys can get a guy pinned, the third guy can get a rebound. They trust each other.”

A first team all-conference selection, Toman is Gardiner’s top scorer. Guard Jake Palmer can slash to the basket or shoot the jumper. Hall and Connor provided an offensive spark in Friday’s 56-47 quarterfinal win over Nokomis, combining for 23 points.

Along with Murray and Ripley, Gardiner defenders need to be wary of twin brothers Isaac and Alex Greenrose. Isaac scored 24 points against Gardiner in the KVAC B championship game, and scored 18 points in Medomak Valley’s 65-39 win over Oceanside in the quarterfinals.

“We need to get some hands in their faces,” Cassidy said.

Top-seed Mt. Desert Island swept a pair of games from Presque Isle in the regular season. The Trojans avoided an upset in the quarterfinals, edging past No. 8 Camden Hills, 59-58. The Wildcats defeated No. 4 Ellsworth, 57-46, to advance.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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