BANGOR — Winslow boys basketball Jared Browne had a great plan for the Eastern B semifinals against Old Town.

It wasn’t the plan Browne came up with. It was his decision to chuck that plan.

After scoring only 13 points in the first half, the Black Raiders decided to make third-seeded Old Town react to their strategy, instead of the other way around. Winslow scored 35 points in the second half, enough for a 48-44 victory over the defending state champion Coyotes at the Cross Insurance Center.

“First half, they came out in a box-and-1, which we expected,” Browne said. “We spent two days trying to put in a specialty (offense) to beat that — it didn’t work. I told my guys, ‘Hey, this isn’t working right now. We don’t believe in it. Let’s do something we believe in, and that’s our regular flow.’

“I just let our kids play in the second half. We’ve got some really good players on our team, and our really good players made some really good plays.”

For No. 2 Winslow (18-2), the win means a spot in the Eastern B final Saturday afternoon. Colby Robertson led Winslow with 14 points — all of them in the second half.

The showdown between two teams with three combined losses was a one-sided one early. Old Town star Eric Hoogterp, a Mr. Basketball semifinalist, hit for nine points in the first quarter. The Coyotes led 13-5 after one quarter and 15-5 early in the second. Winslow missed its first seven 3-pointers, and while Justin Martin was rebounding inside, the Raiders were five for 24 from the floor in the first half, and were fortunate to be down just 20-13 at halftime.

One minute and eight seconds into the second half, the Raiders got the sign that the second half would be different. Sophomore guard Keanu Earle got a cross-court pass and drained a three from the right side. It was exactly the kind of shot Winslow wasn’t making in the first half.

“That was big, because we talked a lot the last two days about if they’re going to box-and-1 on Martin, that somebody else has got to step up,” Browne said. “That’s been our theme all year: One guy goes down, somebody else steps up.”

Robertson, who missed his first seven shots of the game, got into the act as well. After a steal and breakaway layup by Trenton Bouchard brought Winslow within two points, Robertson dropped in a three for Winslow’s first lead at 23-22. Robertson went on to score nine points in the third quarter, and make three 3-pointers in the second half.

“They told me to keep shooting, because shooters shoot,” Robertson said. “That’s what I did.”

Old Town matched Winslow almost point for point, which was impressive considering the job Bouchard was doing defensively on Hoogterp. Bouchard was outscored 17-5 by Hoogterp, but he was a big reason Hoogterp was two for 11 from the field after the first quarter.

“We started Josh (Kervin) on him,” Browne said. “He got his fourth foul pretty early on. Trenton Bouchard came in, and Trenton, a very underrated defender, came in and did a great job on him — didn’t give him anything easy, contained his penetration. When Hoogterp did penetrate, we made him into a passer instead of a scorer.

“I don’t know how many points Trenton had, but his value isn’t measured in points. His value is measured in the little things that don’t go on the scoresheet. That’s shutting down the other team’s best player.”

When Bouchard inbounded the ball under the Winslow basket with 1.3 seconds left in the third quarter and hit Robertson for a layup, Winslow was down 34-33. The Black Raiders took the lead for good with 3:21 to go in the fourth. With the score tied at 39, Robertson pump-faked, then banged in a three to make it 42-39.

It was 44-41 Winslow with two minutes left after two free throws by Robertson. After Old Town couldn’t score, Bobby Chenard converted a putback for a five-point lead. Old Town wasn’t done, as Adam Richardson followed up a missed three with a three-point play.

The last scoring in the game came with 51.2 seconds left, as Earle nailed both ends of a one-and-one at the line. Hoogterp had two chances at 3-pointers, but they were each from 25 to 30 feet out, and were off the mark.

Old Town missed another desperation shot as time ran out. And you probably couldn’t have found one person cheering for the Black Raiders who even remembered Winslow’s struggles in the first half.

“We’re a great third-quarter and fourth-quarter team,” Robertson said. “So when we come out of the halftime, we’re so ready to go.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo


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